Tag Archives: beef

Braised short ribs with pine nuts

9 May

This is one of those cook-it-today-but-maybe-eat-it-tomorrow kinda deals. The flavors knit together even better with time.

I had it both ways. The batch of short ribs I prepared the other day were eaten that same evening, but there were enough leftovers for another couple of meals.

I ain’t as dumb as I look.

Very liberally salt the ribs (4 1/2 pounds here), and don’t forget some freshly ground black pepper.

Then dredge in all-purpose flour.

In a large dutch oven brown the ribs in a plenty of olive oil, then remove and set aside.

Add one diced onion, two celery stalks, two carrots, one leek, eight garlic cloves, a few anchovy filets, some thyme, and half a cup of pine nuts, and saute until softened.

Then add a bottle (750 ml) of red wine (I used an inexpensive Sangiovese but most any dry red will do) and turn up the heat to high. Note: If you prefer to use a dry white wine instead, nobody’s stopping you.

After the wine has boiled for five minutes or so add a quart of homemade stock (I had chicken stock around but beef or even vegetable stock would be fine). Cover and put in the oven, preheated to 350-375 degrees F. The ribs should cook for around three hours, but every 45 minutes or so turn the ribs.

These short ribs were in the oven exactly three hours. When I put a fork to the meat it was about as soft and tender as it gets, which is what you want.

Remove the ribs and toss the bones.

Then slice the meat into inch or so pieces.

And serve with some of the sauce. On this particular occasion My Associate had prepared a very nice mashed potato and celery root combo, which turned out to be a pretty much perfect match. However, most anything will work here (egg noodles, spaetzle, polenta, whatever).

Just be sure to make enough for those leftovers.

Braised beef short ribs

26 Apr

The chill hasn’t yet gone out of spring. Here in Maine this morning they’re actually calling for snowflakes. The last pile of seasoned firewood on my front porch grows smaller each day, and come Sunday it’s going to be May.

In other words, it’s still braising season here in the Northland. Might as well get with the program and rustle up some short ribs.

Finely dice three large carrots, three celery stalks, one onion, one leek, and six garlic cloves; also measure out 1/4 cup of pine nuts.

This is just under 5 pounds of beef short ribs. Season the ribs very well with kosher salt (don’t be shy) and freshly ground black pepper.

Dredge the ribs in all-purpose flour.

Cover the entire surface of a large Dutch oven in olive oil; heat the oil and brown the ribs on all sides. You may need to do this in batches; I browned two ribs at a time.

When the ribs are nicely browned remove from the oil and set aside.

Add the diced vegetables, pine nuts and a few anchovy filets (optional) to the oil and saute until softened but not browned. I also added some fresh thyme, marjoram and rosemary.

Return the ribs to the Dutch oven.

Then cover the meat with a combination of red wine and stock. I used 6 cups of homemade chicken stock here and one bottle of an inexpensive Cote du Rhone; you may not need to use this much liquid. Cover the pot and place in the oven (preheated to 350 degrees F). After around 2 hours remove the cover and continue cooking for another hour or until the meat is completely tender.

These ribs were in the oven for just over 3 hours and the meat was so soft and tender that it literally slid right off the bones. The ribs gave off a lot of fat and so I used a large spoon to scoop most of it out.

Then I set the ribs aside, added the zest of around half a lemon, and reduced the sauce a little bit because it was on the thin side. Depending on how much sauce you have, and its consistency, you may not need to reduce the sauce at all, but the lemon zest is still a good idea.

I served the short ribs over homemade pappardelle but mashed potatoes, polenta, or even risotto would work too.

If you’re lucky there’ll be leftovers. This stuff is always going to taste better the next night. Which in my case turned out to be in the 30-degree-get-me-the-hell-out-of-here-it’s-supposed-to-be-freaking-spring range.

Beef short rib ragu

24 Oct

The furnace has been running lately. So has the living room fireplace.

It’s braising season.

Not a lot of things are better for braising than short ribs. They’re terrific served whole, of course, but I was in the mood for a hearty ragu the other evening, and so that’s the direction I went in.

Nobody complained.

I started out with 3 pounds of beef short ribs. After liberally seasoning the ribs with kosher salt and black pepper I dredged them in all-purpose flour and then tossed them into a dutch oven with plenty of olive oil.

After the ribs have browned on all sides, remove and set aside.

Add one large chopped carrot, two celery stalks, one medium onion, one leek, four garlic cloves, and some thyme. Saute until the vegetables have softened.

Return the ribs to the dutch oven and add one quart of stock (beef here), 2 cups of red wine, and one can of tomatoes. Let the liquid come to a boil, then cover the pot and place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F.

After around two hours check that the meat is tender. If it isn’t tender continue to cook until it is. Once tender remove from the oven and allow things to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the ribs from the sauce and pick away all the meat from the bones.

All that’s left to do now is add the meat back into the sauce, reheat and serve.

As you can see by the picture up top I served the ragu over polenta the first night. The next night I went with cavatelli.

It feels like winter tonight. I only wish there was still some of the stuff left.

Italian pot roast

20 Oct

I’m turning off my phone today. Not gonna check email either. My friend Joe would give me nothing but grief over the title of this post. I can hear him already.

Italian pot roast? Really?” he would say (or type). If I let him, that is.

“If you’re going to keep insisting that everything you put on Mister Meatball is Italian, a concept you know full well I do not agree with, then you can at least refer to the foods with their proper names, rather than trying to Americanize them so as to, what, be more reader-friendly?”

There is no telling how long my friend would go on like this, possibly the better part of the afternoon, but in the end he would undoubtedly complete his rant with the following:

“But, hey, it’s your blog, do what you want.”

Okay, Joe, here goes: I made some Stracotto di manzo (overcooked beef) this past week. But you may know it as Brasato di manzo (braised beef). Here in the States most recipes that you see for this just call it “Italian pot roast” because, well, that’s what it is. So get off my back, would you. And give my love to Joel.

Okay, where was I? So, this is a 4.5-pound boneless chuck roast, which I’ve seasonsed very liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a dutch oven sear the roast on all sides in olive oil, then remove and set aside.

Add two chopped carrots, two celery stalks, one leek, an onion, 5 garlic cloves, 4 anchovy fillets (optional), and some herbs (rosemary, marjoram and oregano here, but knock yourself out with whatever you like). Saute until softened.

Add about a cup of red wine (I used a Nero d’Avola, and you’ll need an entire 750 ml bottle) and turn up the heat.

Cook off the wine so that it begins to thicken, then scrape the pot all around with a wooden spoon to loosen any vegetables that may have stuck to the pan’s surface.

Add the rest of the bottle of wine, a 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes, a bay leaf, and some salt and pepper. Cover the pot and turn the heat to a very slow simmer, not a boil. Every 20 minutes or so turn the meat over, or at the very least baste it frequently.

This roast simmered for nearly five hours, but I’d suggest that you start checking the meat for tenderness at the 3.5-hour mark. Just poke at it with a fork; when the meat feels tender you should be all set. After this roast was done cooking I allowed it to cool in the pot, then put the whole thing in the fridge overnight and served it for dinner the next evening. I strongly urge that you do this, as the flavor improves enough, I think, to make a difference.

After you reheat simply take the meat out and carve it.

I served this with a creamy polenta. Which, as my friend Joe will tell you, is a dish that is strongly associated with Italian cuisine.

How to make carpaccio

15 Aug

When the first-ever plate of carpaccio emerged from the kitchen at Harry’s Bar in Venice in 1950, it consisted of only two ingredients: thinly sliced raw beef and a sauce drizzled on top.

Since then the name carpaccio has come to mean virtually any type of thinly sliced meat or even fish. And the original recipe (named for the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio) has been adapted many times over.
I prefer the old Harry’s Bar beef carpaccio over other versions, but with one addition: very fresh, undressed arugula.
I know that this may turn the dish into more summer salad than red-meat appetizer, but is that really such a bad thing? In August? 
Anybody with decent knife skills and an ability to mix a few standard ingredients into a sauce can make a pretty respectable carpaccio, by the way. Not a single thing here requires cooking.

Of course, it helps if you enjoy eating raw beef.

Which I do.

This is three-quarters of a pound of beef sirloin fillet, enough for four very generous portions. Other cuts can also be used; just make sure to trim off as much fat and gristle as you can (like on the lower portion of the fillet here). Also, the meat must be very cold in order to slice properly, so let it rest in the freezer for maybe 20 minutes before working.

Carpaccio must be very thinly sliced, but I think that pounding is even better. First cut the fillet into thin slices, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then place them in between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound even thinner. Make sure to leave plenty of space between the slices when lining them in the plastic, as they will widen when pounded.

You’re shooting for paper-thin slices, but don’t worry if they are not literally so. Overworking can easily tear the slices. The main thing is to make them thin, and keep them in one piece.

If you imagine this without the arugula you would be looking at the classic version of carpaccio, simply dressed with a sauce made largely of mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce.

Either way works for me.

Carpaccio sauce
Adapted from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook by Harry Cipriani

Makes about 1 cup

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 tsp milk
white pepper

In a bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.
Whisk in enough milk to make the sauce thin enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Taste and adjust with salt, pepper, Worcestershire and lemon.