Saturday, June 7, 2008

Barolo Braised Beef Short Ribs

Barolo Braised Beef Short Ribs, Sour Cream Garlic Mashed Potatoes, & Broiled Tomatoes
I am sitting here the first week of June in Portland, Oregon and it is cloudy and in the 50's ( oh yeah, the Rose Parade is this weekend, and the weather is always crappy for Grand Floral Parade).

Connor Schoen-Age 12-Future MLB-MVP
My son (Connor-age 12) is the consummate anti-vegetarian. I swear , this little boy eats more meat than an alpha wolf. He has always had an adventurous palate, but it has centered around meat, meat products and meat-like substances. I think he believes that a Chicken Cilantro Sausage counts as a vegetable serving. This morning
I was trying to come up with dinner ideas that would accomplish several things.
1. Allow me to putt around in the kitchen for a long period of time
2. Broaden our meat intake to include something besides a grilled piece of animal flesh
3. Provide some comfort food during a time of year where I would prefer grilling outside, sipping a Mojito and worrying about burning the top of my bald head.

In a flash it came to me. Tonight I would braise something. Since I had some beef short ribs in the refrigerator the choice was now how to prepare them.
I just finished reading "Heat" by Bill Buford. Bill is a writer who apparently had finally made enough money that he could afford to go to work for Mario Batali as an "intern" (i.e., for no pay). The book chronicles a couple of years and much education for Mr. Buford. One of the dishes I recalled from the book was for Barolo Braised Beef Short Ribs. What I specifically recalled was that while Bill worked in the kitchen he was exposed to the "dirty little secret" that Mario's restaurant (Babbo) actually used an inexpensive Merlot for the preparation of this popular dish.
As a wine guy, I can say that to braise with a Barolo worthy of drinking would be a waste of a $50+ bottle of wine. There is absolutely no such thing as a "Two-buck Chuck Barolo". My advice would be to braise with something affordable (and drinkable) and if the company warrants it, go ahead and splurge on the wine for drinking with the meal.
Note: Barolo (produced from Nebbiolo grapes) wines are notoriously big, dark, tannic monsters. The old school wines used to take a decade or more to finally come around for drinking. While today the wines are approachable earlier, the really great wines still need time and with wine "time is money". So, if you don't have a Barolo in your cellar you have several options-invite a friend to dinner who has a good Italian selection in his/her cellar, spend an arm and a leg at a reputable wine shop, or just chill out and ask your wine shop steward to suggest something in your price range. As my favorite shop owner says: "Wine, not Brain Surgery".

Barolo Braised Beef Short Ribs
4 lbs. beef short ribs
1 carrot-coarsely chopped
2 Yellow onions-coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks-finely chopped
4 oz. Pancetta ( or bacon works too)
2 cups red wine (don't, don't, don't use Barolo!!!....if you do, you are just an a**hole)
2 cups basic tomato sauce (use my recipe and just leave out the meat)
Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Dust the ribs with some salt and pepper then sear on all sides until brown in a dutch oven. Set the ribs aside then add the onion, carrot, celery and pancetta to the pot. Cook for 7-8 minutes, add the wine and tomato sauce, bring to a boil and add the ribs back in. Cover the dutch oven and put into a 350 degree overn for 90 minutes or so and behold the magic that appears.

Arugula w/ Lemon Vinagrette & Shaved Parmesan
Serve with a soft polenta, or if you are feeding my son, some Sour Cream Garlic mashed potatoes w/ some fresh chives. I tossed some nice pear tomoatoes with olive oil and broiled them until they sizzled (you can do this on a Weber Grill too). A nicely dressed Arugula salad with a citrus vinaigrette and a quality red wine makes this a stellar Saturday night dinner at home.

Buon Appetito!


Catherine Wilkinson said...

"Two-buck Chuck Barolo". Hilarious.
Your son is quite the handsome dude! And an athlete!
I have made something very similiar to this...I used one of my favorite Barberas..."2006 Fontanafredda Barbera Piemonte "Briccotondo" I get it by the boat load at K&'s cheap!
Something like $12 per's great for braising, like your wonderful recipe.

Brittany said...

awww- look at that lil slugger.

Braised short ribs sound so cozy. It's cold & rainy in Seattle too (waah!)

I'm coming over.

Karen said...

I'm making this for the second time, for a dinner date with someone I've had a crush on for ages! I'm using a Nero'd Avola, the grape which, according to Mario's Italian Wine book, produces dark, thick, exotic reds, Sicilian. I think it's a perfect wine for this dish, and at 12.95 won't break the bank. I am going to my local wine shop tomorrow for a nice red to pair. I love arugula, and the idea of mashed potatoes and roasted tomateoes...thanks for your post and wish me luck with my date! ;-)

Norm Schoen said...

Hi Karen,
Hope this helps seal the deal with your "crush". If you like grilling I have a recipe for a great Jamaican Jerk Rub (Aug 6th Post).

mshafran said...

I'm curious to hear about your own experience with the short ribs recipe. I gave a similar Mario Batali recipe a go and found a couple of key issues. I've posted the results to my blog, Gosstronomy and would really like to get your feedback.

Cheers! - Michael