Friday, March 07, 2008

Coffee and Chili Braised Short Ribs; Scalloped Potatoes; Acorn Squash Veloute; Broccoli Rabe

This is my third short rib variation. They have all been delicious. This one was especially flavorful. I made scalloped potatoes because the meat didn't have much sauce, and broccoli rabe as a strong-flavored veggie to hold up to the intense chili flavor of the meat. The acorn squash veloute we began with had the delicate flavor of this interesting squash with a zingy cayenne twist.

My excuse this time for the imperfect pictures is that we just plain forgot to take them until we were halfway through eating. Sorry.

We started with a glass of
St George Absinthe

Acorn Squash Veloute

with a swirl of cream

This recipe is from Epicurious.

You'll need (serves 8):

2 large onions, chopped
2 large acorn squash
2T freshly grated ginger
5c chicken broth
2T tomato paste
cayenne pepper to taste

1T cumin seeds
1T mustard seeds

Peel, clean and chop squash into 1" cubes. This is a pain in the ass.

Saute onion 10 minutes. Add squash and ginger, saute 5 minutes. Add 4c broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, 20-30 minutes. Puree.

Stir in tomato paste and cayenne and simmer 10 more minutes. You can make soup ahead until this point. Add more broth to thin soup when you reheat it.

Saute cumin and mustard seeds in oil about 2 min. Sprinkle on top of soup to serve. (The seeds aren't just decorative-- they add a lot of texture and flavor.)

Coffee and Chili Braised Short Ribs

there was not much left when we
remembered to take a picture...

This is loosely based on a Mark Bittman recipe. You can use whatever kind of chilies you want.

You'll need:

short ribs, either English cut or Flanken cut. You'll need about 1 per person. I normally use English cut; I got Flanken by mistake, but it wasn't a problem. Be sure to cut off all the visible fat; it's unnecessary-- especially the huge layer on Flanken-cut ribs.

1 large onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 dried chipotle chilies, seeded and chopped as small as possible
2 dried gaujillo chilies, seeded and chopped as small as possible
1T ancho chili powder
1 1/2c dry red wine
1 1/2c strong coffee (not espresso)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Salt and pepper short ribs. Brown in hot grapeseed oil on all sides. Remove from pot when browned. If necessary, clean out black bits with a paper towel and/or add more oil. Saute onion, shallot, garlic, chilies, and chili powder over medium-low heat, about 20 minutes. Add wine and coffee and reduce by half.

Return browned ribs to sauce. Cover pot and place in oven about 2 hours, turning ribs halfway. There shouldn't be too much liquid left at the end, but make sure the ribs don't dry out while cooking.

Scalloped Potatoes

variation: layer swiss chard leaves between potatoes

You'll need:

3lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cleaned and sliced into rounds as thin as you possibly can. A mandoline is useful for this; I wish I had one.

1/2 onion, super thinly sliced
2T chopped fresh thyme
2T butter
1/4c parmesan
2 1/2c half & half or cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

each layer should look like this

Place potato rounds in a thin layer in the bottom of a well-buttered gratin dish. Top with salt, pepper, onions, thyme, and a spoonful of cheese. Continue layering until you run out of potatoes. Pour half & half on top. Top with more parmesan and any leftover thyme (not onions). Bake, covered with foil, until potatoes are tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Then uncover and put under broiler, or crank up oven heat, to brown top.

Broccoli Rabe

You'll need:

2 bunches broccoli rabe, or broccoli raab, or rapini (it's all the same thing)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1T chili flakes
4T olive oil
grated cheese to top-- I can't remember the name of the cheese I used, but it should be hard and nutty, with enough flavor to hold up to the greens.

Clean broccoli rabe-- remove thick stems and wash well. Place in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain well. At this point, you can put the blanched greens in the fridge 'til you want to serve them.

Just before serving, heat oil and saute shallots, garlic, and chili flakes for 2 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and warm through. Top with grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

The Cheese

When I went to the Cheeseboard to buy the cheese for the broccoli rabe, I couldn't help getting an oozingly ripe Chatelain Brie, some Montagnolo (I promise: even if you don't like blue cheese, you'll like this one), and some other one whose name I forget. So we had a cheese course, too.

The Wine

This was the first wine. I thought it
went really well with the soup.

This was the second wine. It is as old as I am.
The cork was disintegrating. It was delicious.
If only women aged like wine.

Thanks for the wines, Mr. Anonymous.


karinadanielle said...

do you think the davis cafeteria is hiring? i think we could all benefit from some of that potato fact i think i'm going to hop on a train right now so i can eat it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have two comments. Maybe three.

First, women do age like wine. The older the better. At twenty five/six, you are a child. This wine had at least another fifty years in the bottle. then, when it comes out,you remember it forever. Like, well, i won't go there.

Second, the short ribs were beyond belief. Really. The soup tasted better than it looked.

Third, if the davis cafeteria is not hiring, i'm sure someone is.

Anonymous said...

by the way, i burped the other day and tasted the meal again. it was great. an interested party said anon. was disgusting.

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