I love Dorie Greenspan. She is delightful in books. She is delightful in person. I have been trying to jump into French Fridays with Dorie – the cookalong for Dorie’s book Around My French Table – for the longest time, but I am scatterbrained. At least I know it. I have all the best intentions and then Friday passes me by and then I feel guilty.
Truth be told, I am not a good Friday cook. I am not really a during the week cook. Not in the sense that I don’t cook during the week, but during the week is on the fly cooking – old habits, old standbys.
I was determined, however, to do this recipe of Short Ribs in Red Wine & Port. It just sounded divine and just the type of dish I like to make on a Sunday when I have all the time in the world to futz in the kitchen.
I gathered all my ingredients and realized that while I had cheese cloth SOMEONE had stolen my kitchen string. There is string all over this house, different thicknesses, different materials, why oh why did my kitchen string look so attractive – because it was in front of the thief.
Necessity being the mother of invention, I cut a strip of the cheesecloth and used it as a tie.
For me, the prep is always the worst part. Chopping, chopping, CHOPPING. Once you get past all the chopping, the dish really cooks itself.
Well, after you saute the vegetables and broil the short ribs.
Broiling the short ribs is terrific. It gets them started, a little browned, but in a different way than browning them in a pan. I like it much better this way.
And this is where the aroma therapy begins. While the veggies begin to cook, you first get the wonderful aromas from the mirepoix and garlic. Suddenly there is a new companion on the journey – ginger! Ginger just fits right in with the scents in the kitchen, but also gives it a little something new.
Adding the tomato paste and letting it sautee with the vegetables ranks right up there for with toasting the or frying the spices before you add in the main ingredients. It gives the tomato paste a chance to coat the vegetables, to be totally incorporated into the dish before all the liquids join in.
Once you add the ribs and red wine and port to the pot and stick it in the oven for its 3 hour nap, new smells start to take over. First, you are hit by the red wine mingling with the ginger and vegetables. There is something very comforting about the smell. And just when you are ready to take a little nap, the port starts to open up and there is another totally new smell around the house.
In the meantime, there were people walking through the kitchen oohing and aahing and questioning over and over when this wonderfully smelling dish would be ready.
Once the pot came out of the oven, we became giddy with anticipation. The ribs go back under the broiler with some of the strained sauce to glaze. Ingenious!
While the ribs are glossing, I made a gremolata using a honeybell orange instead of lemon.
What a lovely touch to finish the dish. The gremolata gave a fresh brightness to the deep flavors of the beef and gave a brightness to the mahogany colored ribs.
I served this with roasted carrots, mashed potatoes and my grandmother’s biscuit recipe. It was the quietest people have been around my table in a long time!
Thanks, Dorie. Hope to be back next week!
If you don’t own the book – AND YOU SHOULD – this recipe is on the Bon Appetit website.