I had no idea when I awoke yesterday morning what I was going to make for dinner. When it is the weekend I get a bit more excited about the evening meal. It happened that we had some friends staying from out-of-town, and we wanted to take them to our local Farmer’s and Flea Markets. They could get a taste of the local breakfast fare, and afterwards, try to find a treasure amidst the mountains of offerings that ranged from world war 2 memorabilia to a full-sized stuffed grizzly bear, in a threatening pose!
As we walked around I wondered why I only came here when I had visitors in town. Dotted in amongst the dealers are countless vendors selling meats, vegetables and baked goods.
I stopped by one of the butcher stalls as we were leaving, and fell in love with some beef short-ribs. Usually I am not drawn to beef, but this cut of meat, sitting behind the crystal clear display glass looked luscious and tender. It was settled, I was compelled to make short-ribs for dinner.
And oh, they were delicious. It was tender beyond belief, and the broth was full of a rich sweetness. I cooked the last of my winter squash to go with it. I cooked it in a little curried cream and it was the perfect balance the hearty dish needed. We ate in silent revery until we were all just a little too full – yum!
For Short Ribs; You will need: 3 lbs beef short ribs, cut into 2 or 3 bone segments, 4 tbs olive oil, 2 celery ribs, including leaves, sliced, 1 med/lrg sweet onion, large dice, 1/2 lb white mushrooms, washed & left whole, 10 sprigs thyme, 4 tbs roughly chopped parse;y, 1 bouquet garni, 1 1/2 cups red wine, 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 3 cups chicken broth (OR, 3 cups of water and 1 good quality bouillon cube).
For Squash Side-Dish; you will need: 1 winter squash, peeled , scooped & diced, 2 tbs oil, 1 tbs unsalted butter, 1 small yellow onion, small dice, 2 long skinny red peppers (Anaheim), OR, 1 green pepper, diced, 1/2 tsp of curry powder, (if your curry is very mild, use 1 tsp), 1 sprig thyme, 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/2 tsp sea-salt, (I use Maldon Salt), several grinds cracked black pepper.
Preheat oven 325*
1 – Cut ribs as instructed above, and season with sea-salt and pepper. Put heavy casserole (the one you are going to use in the oven) on high heat and add 2tbs of oil. When it is smoky hot, add some of the short-ribs. Do not crowd the pan or the meat will not brown. When well browned on both sides, remove to a plate and continue to cook until everything is seared. You will need to add more oil as you go.
2 – Turn heat down and add the onions, celery and thyme to the pot. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for another 8 or so minutes.
3 – Add the wine, Marsala and balsamic and turn heat up to high. Cook like this for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. The liquid will reduce and intensify.
4 – Add the broth (or water & bouillon cube), and bouquet garni, and bring to a boil. Add the ribs in even layers and cover with a heavy lid. Place in preheated oven for 2 1/4 hours. When done, take out of oven and let it sit on stove top for 15 minutes. (leaving lid on).
5 – When meat has about 20 minutes left in oven, start on the squash dish. Put pot of water on and when it boils, add the diced squash and cook covered for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
6 – Put saute pan on medium heat and add the oil and butter. When it has warmed, add the onions and peppers and cook for 12 or so minutes, until vegetables are soft.
7 – Add the squash and thyme sprig, and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the curry powder, salt and pepper and stir into vegetables. Add cream and turn heat down to low. Keep warm until ready to serve (you may want to thin it out more, and you can do so by adding a tbs of cream or broth until you are satisfied with the consistency).
Divide meat into shallow bowls and top with juices and squash. You may also feel like another accompaniment, and I suggest, boiled potatoes, rice, or crusty bread. Divine with just about anything really.