Beef short ribs in red wine and port

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Beef short ribs are an inexpensive yet delicious cut of meat. They are richly marbled and need to be cooked long and slow to bring out the exquisite tenderness and flavour. The addition of port to the dish brings out a beautiful richness. It is a perfect recipe for a dinner party as it can be made ahead of time. The ribs are a natural with mashed potato or pasta.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 short ribs, each with a bone
2 tablespoons oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
4 carrots, sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
Bouquet garni
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle fruity red wine
2 cups ruby port
4 cups / 1 liter beef bouillon
Parsley, roughly chopped as garnish

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 160C / 325F
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat
Season the short ribs with salt and black pepper
When the oil is hot, brown half of the short ribs until well caramelized on all sides, about 10 minutes
Transfer the ribs to a platter and repeat with the remaining short ribs
Remove and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan and reduce the heat to medium
Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes
Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer
Stir in the flour and continue to cook, stirring, for 3 minutes
Add the tomato paste
Add the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping to release any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom
Pour in the port, stock, and bouquet garni, adjust the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil
Return the short ribs to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, then cover the pan and place it in the oven
Cook until the meat is fork-tender and beginning to pull away from the bones, basting the ribs occasionally with the braising liquid, 2 to 2 1/2 hours
Transfer the ribs to a large platter, discard any loose bones, and cover the ribs to keep them warm.
Skim the fat from the top of the braising liquid and discard
Gently strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve, carefully transferring the vegetables from the pot to a platter
Discard the bouquet garni
Return the braising liquid to a clean Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat
Simmer until the liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes
Season the sauce to taste
Return the meat and the vegetables to the Dutch oven and simmer briefly until heated through
Sprinkle with the fresh parsley
Serve immediately
Enjoy!

 

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Roast vegetables

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Nadia is recovering from her second carpal tunnel surgery, this time on her right and dominant hand, so I am in charge of making meals for a few weeks. To be entirely honest, she did make and freeze enough meals to last at last 10 days so I do not have too many meals to take care of – luckily.

One of my favourite sides is also one of the easiest to make but, boy, is it tasty. I love my meat and protein but could almost eat just a big portion of these for dinner – I did say “almost”.

Ingredients:

1 small butternut, peeled and seeds removed
2 potatoes, peeled
2 onions, peeled
3 parsnips, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
Cut the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions and butternut squash into cubes
(All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don’t cut them too small)
Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet
Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper and the herbs
Toss well to coat all
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula about half way through cooking
Season to taste, and serve hot
Enjoy!

Beef Wellington – Another guest post by Stuart

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Nice cuisson (fortunately)

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So this time we decided that I should go big.  On one trip to Bordeaux we went to Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant and I had beef wellington.  So this was definitely a more adventurous dish for me to try as far as preparation compared to prior dishes.  The challenge is fun though especially when there are parts that you have never done before.  Having to create a sauce and reduce it down was interesting to see how it turned out.

Here is the prep before putting the beef back into the fridge to chill.  This is to help mould it together before being wrapped with the pastry.

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I think the pastry turned out well.

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The end result turned out really well and I was a bit surprised it was as good given that it is a bit more work and trickier than anything I had done before.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 200g/7oz beef fillets
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250g/8oz mixture of wild mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 thyme sprig, leaves only
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 4 slices of Parma ham
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the red wine sauce: (this makes more than you need but freezes beautifully)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 500ml / 2 cups red wine
  • 250ml / 1 cup beef stock

Preparation:

  1. Wrap each piece of beef tightly in a layer of cling film to set its shape, then chill overnight.
  2. Remove the cling film, then quickly sear the beef fillets in a hot pan with a little olive oil for 30-60 seconds until browned all over and rare in the middle. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
  3. Finely chop the mushrooms and sauté in a hot pan with a little olive oil, the thyme leaves and some seasoning. Continue to cook over a high heat for about 10 minutes until all the excess moisture has evaporated and you are left with a mushroom paste. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
  4. Lay a large sheet of cling film on a work surface and place 2 slices of Parma ham in the middle, overlapping them slightly, to make a cross. Spread half the mushrooms evenly over the ham.
  5. Season the beef fillets, then place them on top of the mushroom-covered ham. Using the cling film, roll the Parma ham over the beef, then roll and tie the cling film to get a nice, evenly thick log. Repeat this step with the other beef fillet, then chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Cut the pastry sheet into 2 rectangles.
  7. Remove the cling film from the beef, then wrap the pastry around each ham-wrapped fillet. Trim the pastry then chill for 20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, make the red wine sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the beef trimmings for a few minutes until browned on all sides. Stir in the shallots with the peppercorns, bay and thyme and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots turn golden brown.
  9. Pour in the vinegar and let it bubble for a few minutes until almost dry. Now add the wine and boil until almost completely reduced. Add the stock and bring to the boil again. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, until you have the desired consistency. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve lined with muslin. Check for seasoning and set aside.
  10. When you are ready to cook the beef wellingtons, score the pastry lightly and brush with the egg wash, then bake at 200°C/400F for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked. Rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  11. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce. Serve the beef wellingtons sliced, with the sauce as an accompaniment.
  12. Enjoy!