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You can’t screw up braised short ribs. You just can’t. I’d even go as far as saying braising is for dummies– extremely smart dummies. Because it’s the best cooking technique that requires no technique. No special skills. No innate knowledge. Heck you don’t even need special or particularly particular ingredients.
Braising combines liquid, low heat, and long cooking times to create flavorful fall-off-the-bone tender moist meat. Whenever wine or beer are involved– all the better. But you can’t choose bad combinations of flavor and you will never, ever be disappointed.
You can get exotic as in Korean kalbi jim– filling the pot with soy, sugar, sesame seeds, oil, garlic and ginger. You can keep it more “western” in the classic French sense with aromatic herbs, mirepoix and red wine, as I did with these Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Swiss Chard and Orecchiette. In either instance you can add as much or as little as you like, varying the ratios to suit your pantry. I promise you that the end result will be rich, flavorful and tender.
Braising is not difficult and the results will make you look like an accomplished chef (not that you aren’t…). I think braises are perfect for low stress dinner parties. You can braise these short ribs days in advance, then simply boil the pasta and wilt the greens before serving. You can’t really mess it up.
The concept behind braising is this: the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat. It is then simmered in liquid on low-heat in a covered pot for a very long time. I like my Staub cast iron for this job because it has these little nubblies on the lid that allows the steam to rain back down into the pan in an all around even fashion. This is unlike the smooth lids of some other brands, which tend to accumulate the droplets then send them sliding down the edges of the pot. That is a very uneven distribution method in my opinion.
Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Swiss Chard and Orecchiette
This dish is a great way to entertain, as most of the preparation can be done in advance, filling your home with a welcoming aroma of slowly simmering, savory ingredients. So open up a bottle of good red wine and enjoy.
Neeps and Tatties. That did not come out of my brain. But I have had them on my brain ever since I first read about them over at The Daily Spud. It seems Neeps and Tatties are a traditional Scotish favorite, though my version is hardly traditional.
I am sure you can guess that the Tatties are taters. Actualy potaters. But Neeps may be new to you. If so I hope the name makes you smile as much as it does me. Especially when said in conjunction with Tatties! Neeps and Tatties. I dare not say where my mind goes when I hear that phrase.
But where my mind should be going is to the Scotish turnip, or what we would call a rutabaga. Because that’s what a Neep is. A super huge rutabaga. I used regular old American-sized rutabagas so keep that in mind when reading the recipe. It’s a long recipe too so I want to get a move on here. But I do need to say this is another entry in my week of Meat and Potatoes, or rather my week of Meat and Tatties (with Neeps).
Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs with Neeps and Tattie-Cakes
Neeps and tatties are a Scottish favorite I tweeked their presentation by making them into cakes to serve as a base for my red wine braised short ribs.
Frilly Red Mustard is the second challenge in my trio of “red” greens. It’s a beautiful little guy. Red and frilly. It has a mild taste. Much milder than the green mustard you know so well.
In my intro blog Red Is The New Greens, I said I’d probably do a salad. Well I probably should have. Instincts are there for a reason. It’s often good to follow them.
I thought about using them raw, paired with some cold left over black-eyed peas and a bacon-vinaigrette. Or something even simpler crossed my mind. I could have tossed them with some avocado cubes and dressed it all with brown sugar and apple-cider vinegar. I have a recipe for a Warm Potato Salad with Wilted Garlicky Baby Green Spinach. One simple substitution and I’d have been home free.
But no, I wanted to show off. I wanted to impress you. In doing so I may have needlessly taken the life of a perfectly sweet little Frilly Red Mustard. Trampling over its delicate, nutty essence. Utterly destroying it’s whimsical form. It was never tough or bitter towards anyone. What right did I have?
BEER: Ommegang Abbey Ale (750 ml)
Did you ever play that game? You know the one when somebody asks you if you could have dinner with anybody in the world, who would it be and why? People always answer with Einstein, Martin Luther King or sometimes maybe Bo Derek.
Well, if someone asked me to play Iâ€™d probably give him or her the names of some bloggers I admire. I am serious I probably would. Which may indicate a desperate need on my part to expand my little corner of the world, or it may prove what I have always suspected. I am a genius!
Because envision a dinner party where all the guests were actual experts in the field of cooking, decorating and entertaining. Can you imagine what kind of fabulous dinner party this group could throw together?
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The great thing about this dinner party is each member of this team is in charge of one aspect of this extravagant meal. They have chosen products they consider essential in getting this party started and have made these products available in their OpenSky Shops.
A quick word from me here. I thought I had put the saga of the trio of “red” greens behind me. But the truth is I have been thinking about that Red Mustard Gratin and why it was so blah…. You might think it’s odd that something so forgettable could stick in my craw the way it has. But as you get to know me you’ll see. That’s just how I am.
I got some great advice from imafoodblog, once again. This time Geoff. He felt that the greens “inherent mildness” was the issue. He is right, the greens got lost in all the creamy ricotta, crunchy breadcrumbs, and and salty Parmesan.
Others piped in and gave me advice about the texture. I got a lot of emails saying that the damn thing looked burnt to them. Well that’s an over statement, but I took their deeper meaning to be they thought it should be a lighter, more subtle, sophisticated dish. The gratin “format” was just too “rustic”.
I processed all this overnight and decided that I needed to do this one again. That’s right I started all over. Only this time I would not be doing a gratin. I decided to do what the Italians might call a timbale or at least my interpretation of that. I am calling it Savory Custard Timbales of Mustard Greens & Mushrooms just to cover all my bases!
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