Sunday, November 28, 2010

A New Orleans One-Pot: Braised Short Ribs

I know the Creole culture and have dozen’s of great recipes – this one included. It can be defined as peasant-style cooking because short ribs are a “comfort food.”

From John Besh, the chef and owner of August in New Orleans, this is an impressive one-pot meal using a reduction of zinfandel and sugar. Once everything goes in the pot, you’re off the hook. Now you can enjoy your guests and go crazy from the smells.

This recipe has huge flavors. Don’t forget to make extra because it was even better the next day.

Creamy mashed potatoes and Cajun Corn Maque Choux follow and made a great combination for the perfect cold weather meal!

Bon Appetit!
Serves 4

Braised Short Ribs

4 lbs beef short ribs

Coarse salt and black pepper

3 cups zinfandel

1/2 cup sugar

6 oz canned chopped tomatoes

2 cups beef broth

1 tbsp minced garlic

3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked off stem

2 bay leaves

3 oz canola oil

1 large onion, diced (2 cups)

2 medium carrots, diced (1/2 cup)

2 stalks celery, diced (1/2 cup)

2 oz dried porcini mushrooms


1. Season short ribs with salt and pepper; be rather generous. In a mixing bowl, whisk together zinfandel, sugar, tomatoes, beef broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt.

2. Pour canola oil into a heavy pot or Dutch oven (at least 5 quarts) and place over high heat. When oil is hot, working in small batches, brown the meat. Turn each piece to brown on all sides before removing from the pot. (Tip: A sturdy pot that conducts heat well has a lot to do with the success of this dish. Get yourself a cast-iron pot. It'll outlast you.)

3. When all beef is browned and removed from pot, add onion, carrots, and celery, allowing onion to cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Return beef to the pot along with wine mixture. Allow wine to come to a boil before reducing heat, skimming fat from surface.

5. After simmering for several minutes, add mushrooms. Cover and simmer over very low heat until meat is fork tender and nearly falling off the bone, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

6. Once the beef has cooked, remove from pot and keep warm. Turn up heat and reduce the pot liquids until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Transfer ribs to four shallow bowls, spooning liquid over top.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

My grandmother always used a ricer to get the wonderfully smooth consistency of these potatoes. This is a classic recipe that has been around forever and passed on from one generation to the next. It also lists as a marvelous comfort food. I’ve been known to eat a heaping plate of mashed potatoes and nothing else for dinner.

2 1⁄2 lbs. russet potatoes

1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream

8 tbsp. unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel potatoes and cut into 1" chunks. Place potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tines of a fork slide easily into the potatoes, 15–20 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat cream and butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and cream is hot. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Working in batches, pass the potatoes through a ricer into the hot cream mixture. Beat the potatoes vigorously with a whisk until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serves 4-6 people.

Cajun Corn Maque Choux

If I could pick one recipe to serve with turkey or chicken this would be it. The delicious mix of vegetables and sausage is a timeless New Orleans recipe.

I used a homemade, spicy chicken sausage today which turned out to be as good as the andouille.

I play around with the ingredients when I make it and often throw in vegetables that appear to be on their last leg.

1 small onion, chopped

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups frozen corn, thawed

2 plum tomatoes, diced

¼ pound andouille sausage, cooked and diced

¼ cup chopped green onion tops

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Sauté onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 8 minutes or until tender. Add corn, tomato, and sausage; cook, stirring often, 15 minutes. Stir in green onions, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes.