Tag Archives: Beef

Comfort Food Necessities: Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine

short-rib-braise-tastefood

It’s the time of year when we need a recipe like this: A pot of slow cooked, melt-in-your mouth, braised short ribs, blanketed in a rich, fortified, and deeply spiced sauce, evoking warmth, heat, and comfort. You can say it’s due to the climate, the holiday season, or even current events, but this braise will satisfy your craving and smooth your mood, focusing your attention solely on the task of digging into this heart (and belly) warming stew, one spoonful at a time.

I make variations of this recipe under the guise of other comfort-food terms, such as Beef Bourguignon and Irish Stew. The ingredients shift slightly, but the principle is the same: Braising chunks of meat by first thoroughly browning them in a pan, then submerging the pieces into an aromatic stock of broth and wine, before banishing the whole lot to the oven for a couple of hours to simmer, marinate, and acquiesce into fork tender morsels swimming in a heady concoction of heat and spirits. The key is time and patience, which, frankly, is a rewarding exercise in itself. Ideally, you will exert even more time and patience in this process, and begin making this dish one day in advance of serving. This way, the stew can chill overnight, further intensifying the flavor, while allowing the persnickety fat to rise to the top of the stew so that it can be deftly removed the following day before rewarming.

This short rib recipe is a favorite, with a rich and smoky sauce  spiked with the heat of chipotle, and balanced by nuggets of sweet carrot, onion, and baby turnips. I made it recently and captured the photo with my iPhone – we were too famished and greedy to wait for me to fiddle with a camera before tucking in.

Red Wine and Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

Serves 4 to 6.

Dry rub:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 pounds short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (750 ml) bottle heavy-bodied red wine
1/4 cup chipotles in adobo, chopped with juices
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock (or chicken stock)

2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices
8 ounces pearl or small cippoline onions, peeled
1 bunch baby (Tokyo) turnips, trimmed and scrubbed (optional)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Braise:
1. Combine the dry rub spices in a small bowl. Arrange the ribs on a rimmed baking tray. Rub the spices all over the ribs. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour (or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before browning).
2. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches without crowding the pan, brown the ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes. (This step is very important, so take the time to do it well). Transfer to a plate or bowl and repeat with the remaining ribs.
4. Drain off the fat from the pot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, the onion, and garlic and sauté over medium heat until softened without coloring, about 3 minutes, stirring up the brown bits in the pan with a wooden spoon.
5. Add the cumin, paprika, and coriander and cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the tomato paste and stir to create a nice slurry.
6. Add the wine, chipotles, and bay leaf and return the ribs and any collected juices to the pot. Pour in the stock. If the ribs are not completely covered with the liquid, add more stock or wine to top off the ribs. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven and braise until the ribs are very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring every hour or so.
7. Remove the pot from the oven. Uncover and let the braise cool slightly. At this point you can remove the bones and cut away any gristle from the ribs or proceed with the bones intact – it’s up to you and how you like to serve the ribs. Return the meat to the pot, then cover and refrigerate overnight. (This step is helpful because it will allow the fat to congeal on the top of the stew, which can be easily removed the next day, while allowing the flavors to develop overnight. Alternatively, proceed with Step 2 of the finishing process and skim fat with a spoon while the sauce reduces.)

Finish:
1. At least 1 hour before serving, remove the pot from the refrigerator and lift off the layer of fat on the surface of the stew.
2. Sauté the carrots, onions, and turnips (if using) in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until they are crisp tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Lightly season with salt.
3. Gently reheat the braise over medium-low heat until the stock is liquid enough to remove the ribs. Carefully remove the ribs from the sauce and arrange in a baking dish.
4. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer over medium heat until reduced by about half and thickened to a rich sauce consistency, 10 to 15 minutes. Return the beef to the pot and add the vegetables, vinegar, and sugar. Simmer until thoroughly heated, 5 to 7 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or keep warm until serving.

Thai Marinated Skirt Steak with Sesame Noodles and Cilantro

There is something infinitely satisfying about presenting a complete dinner heaped on one platter. The arrangement suggests a family-style feast. It’s a fun method for casual dining, which allows everyone to dig into a balanced meal combining meat, greens, and grains, or in this case, noodles.

This Asian-inspired recipe embraces budget friendly skirt steak, a flavorful cut of meat that loves a good marinade, piled over a tangle of noodles. A sweet and sour marinade is perfumed with lemongrass, a key ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, which infuses the meat with flavor and spice. The longer the beef marinates the better the flavor, but that’s the only time consuming step in making this dish, which requires little effort – only advance planning.

Lemongrass, also known as citronella, is commonly used to flavor stir-fries, marinades, and curries. It looks like a woody spring onion and has a uniquely fragrant lemon-floral flavor concentrated in the oils in the centers of its stalk. For the purpose of a marinade, the stalk need only be sliced to release its flavor. For other dishes where the lemongrass is eaten, the outer stalks should be removed and the center stalks minced or pounded to a paste. Lemongrass is sold in the fresh produce section of Asian markets or well-stocked supermarketsand the other marinade and dressing ingredients are available in the international section of well-stocked grocery stores and in Asian supermarkets.

If you can’t find fresh lemongrass in the produce section, it’s also sold as a jarred paste. Simply add 1 tablespoon of the paste to the marinade. Once the ingredients are on hand, this dish comes together quickly for a family-friendly weeknight dinner that will have everyone reaching for seconds.

Thai Marinated Skirt Steak with Sesame Noodles
Serves 4

Marinade:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, outer leaves removed, stalk finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 to 2 pounds skirt steak
8 ounces Vietnamese wheat noodles, Chinese egg noodles, or ramen

Dressing:
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce

Vegetable oil for pan frying

Garnishes:
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 red or green jalapeño chili pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and/or torn mint leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Lime wedges

1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Slice the skirt steak on the diagonal against the grain into 1-inch strips. Add to the marinade and toss to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate at for least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe.

2. Cook the noodles until al dente per manufacturer’s instructions. Drain and transfer to a bowl. While the noodles are cooking, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the drained noodles and toss to thoroughly coat.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the skirt steak in batches without overcrowding the pan. (The steak may also be grilled over direct medium-high heat.) Sear the steak on both sides until cooked to your desired doneness, 2 to 3 minutes each side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.

4. To serve, spread the noodles on a serving platter or in a shallow serving bowl. Arrange the skirt steak strips over the noodles and scatter the chile pepper, cilantro, mint, and sesame seeds over and around the steak. Garnish with the lime wedges and drizzle the remaining sauce over the steak and noodles. Serve warm.

Red Wine and Chipotle Braised Beef Short Ribs

chipotle short ribs

~ Red Wine and Chipotle Braised Beef Short Ribs ~ 

I’m not going to lie to you: These ribs take 2 days to make. Now don’t roll your eyes, and remove that finger from the keyboard poised to click away. Just hear me out. I promise that if you make these ribs, you will be one very happy cook. Your family will be eternally grateful. Your guests will be impressed. And you will be rewarded with a deeply flavorful, warmly spiced, tender and rich meal. The only people who might not be pleased will be your neighbors, because they will have to live through a day of incredible aromas wafting from your kitchen window, making their stomachs rumble, while knowing full well they are not coming to dinner.

Now if none of this is enticing enough, here is some good news: While it takes 2 days to make these ribs, most of the time your are doing nothing. Well, hopefully you’re doing something, but nothing related to this recipe. During this  time, the ribs will take care of themselves, braising in the oven or sitting in the refrigerator. You will  be actively involved in the beginning, when you brown the meat (a very important step, I might add, which will make you feel useful), then when you reduce the sauce (which technically your stove will do for you), and then prettifying the stew for serving. Your biggest hardest most tortuous task will be…waiting. But consider that a gift in this era of clicks and instant gratification – the celebration of process and patience yielding intoxicating results. All of the time invested is for good reason: to tenderize the beef to a supple version of itself, and to infuse the meat and stew with knock-your-socks off flavor. So go ahead and give it a try. Start on a Friday and eat it over the weekend. And feel free to double the amount so you can freeze extras for another day or have a party. It might be a good time to invite the neighbors over.

Red Wine and Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

If you have the time (and patience) rub the short ribs with the spices the  night before browning to develop the flavor. The chipotles in adobo will add a nice kick of heat to the braise. Serves 4 to 6.

Dry rub:
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

4 pounds short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (750 ml) bottle red wine
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup chipotles in adobo
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Vegetables:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping cup peeled baby shallots or pearl onions
1 carrot, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Day 1: Combine the dry rub spices in a small bowl. Arrange the ribs on a rimmed baking tray. Rub the spices all over the ribs. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before browning.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof pot with lid or a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the ribs in batches on all sides without overcrowding the pan, about 8 minutes. (This step is very important, so take the time to do it well). Transfer to a plate or bowl and repeat with remaining ribs.

Drain off all of the fat from the pot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, the chopped onion, chopped carrot, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring up any brown bits in the pan, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika, and coriander and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, tomato paste, chipotles, and bay leaf. Return the ribs and any collected juices to the pot. Add the beef stock. If the ribs are not completely covered with the liquid, add more stock as necessary. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake until the ribs are very tender, about 3 hours, stirring once an hour. With tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to a cutting board to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove any remaining bones (most will have fallen off) and cut away any of the tough gristle.

Return the pot to the stovetop and bring  the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by about half and thickened to a sauce consistency, 10 t0 15 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl, pushing down on the solids to extract flavor, then discard the solids. Return the beef to the sauce, submerging completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: One hour before serving, remove the ribs from refrigerator and turn on the oven broiler. Scrape away any congealed fat collected on the surface of the stew. Gently rewarm on the stovetop over medium-low heat to liquefy the sauce. Carefully remove the meat from the stew and arrange in a baking dish. Broil the meat until dark brown, turning once, about 2 minutes per side.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, the sliced carrots, and a pinch of salt. Saute until crisp tender, about 2 minutes.

Bring the sauce to a low simmer. Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Add the onions and carrots. To serve, divide short ribs between serving dishes or shallow bowls. Ladle the sauce over and around the meat. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley.

Note: To freeze the ribs, prepare all of the Day 1 steps. On Day 2, scrape off the congealed fat, and then freeze. To continue, defrost the stew in the refrigerator overnight. One hour before serving, proceed with broiling the meat and the remaining steps.

Chipotle Beef Short Rib Tacos

chipotle beef ribs tastefood

Beer Braised Chipotle Short Ribs with Jicama Slaw

It’s time to bring out the big guns. It’s been quite busy around here with little time to think, reflect and write. I’ve just finished my final edits on a cookbook project I’ve authored called “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” to be published by Gibbs Smith for the Spring of 2014. (Yes, a whole year away!) It’s also the finish of the school year, when numerous events notoriously conspire to collide. This year is particularly significant since my son is graduating from high school (what?!) It’s proving to be a bittersweet rite of passage, marked by prom and graduation celebrations, an 18th birthday, house guests and kleenex – with work and every day life somehow woven throughout our kodak moments. So for several reasons I share this recipe for Chipotle Short Rib Tacos. First, it’s dang good.  The whole family will love this one – and your friends, your neighbors and house guests. Second, it’s one of my son’s favorites, so say no more. I posted this on TasteFood a while back, and like all good things in the cycle of life, it bears repeating, because repetition begets tradition – which helps to keep us rooted while life is flying by.

Jicama Slaw tf

~ Jicama Slaw ~

Don’t be daunted when I tell you that you should begin this beef short rib recipe two days in advance of serving. The key ingredient in this recipe is time, and the most important technique you will be asked to master is patience. Waiting will be the hardest part, but I assure you the results are well worth it.

The first 24 hours requires making a knock-your-socks-off chipotle spice paste which is rubbed all over the short ribs. The meat is then tucked away in the refrigerator overnight where it will mingle and mull with the spices, and you, the cook, will exercise your patience.

The second day invites a little hands on kitchen work to satisfy your inner-cook. The meat will be seared in a hot pan and then smothered in an intoxicating stock of beer, tomato and onion. If you haven’t yet mastered the patience technique, you will have another opportunity to practice, when the pot of meat, soup and spice is banished to the oven where it will slow cook over several hours. As the meat braises, a heady aroma of spice and meat will fill your kitchen causing your stomach to rumble, your mouth to water and your nose to tingle, leading you to question whether you have the cojones to wait another day to consume this concoction.

You will dig deep within and find the inner strength to muster more patience. The braised meat will cool, while the soup is reduced to a viscous sauce – teasing and testing your will-power as you taste it for seasoning. Then, once again, the pot of beef will be stowed away in the refrigerator overnight, where the newly shredded meat will continue to absorb the flavors of the sauce. The following day, the congealed fat will have risen to form a tidy lid over the stew. It will be swiftly and eagerly removed, like the wrapping of a gift, to reveal a burnished red, intensely flavored stew. As you taste it your senses will light up, because these short ribs will be crazy good. You will feel happy, warm and sated. You will also feel content, knowing that you succeeded in making this dish, while the mouths you are feeding are humming with delight at the table – a deserving reward for your time and patience.

chipotle beef taco tastefood

Beer Braised Chipotle Short Ribs with Jicama Slaw

This recipe is best made 2 days before serving. Feel free to double the portion for a crowd. Serves 4.

Rub:
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 short ribs, 3 to 4 inches in length, about 3 1/2 pounds

Braise:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 bottle dark beer
1 (16-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
Salt to taste

Combine all of the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Smear over the short ribs. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the short ribs in one layer in batches. Brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining short ribs.  Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to the pot and sauté, 2 minutes. Carefully add the beer, scraping up any brown bits and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices and bay leaves. Return ribs and any juices to the pot, submerging the meat in the stock. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake until meat is tender, about 3 hours.

Remove pot from the oven. Transfer the meat to a bowl and discard the bones.
Bring the stock to a boil and cook until reduced by half, skimming fat with a spoon. Add sugar and any accumulated juices from the meat to the stock. Taste for salt.

While the stock is cooking, and when the meat is cool enough to handle, shred the meat.  Add along with any juices to the stock and heat through. (May be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate, covered. Skim solidified fat from the top before reheating.)

To serve, arrange a tortilla on a plate. Spoon Jicama Slaw down the center of the tortilla. Spoon meat over the slaw, and drizzle with some of the juices. Sprinkle with chopped avocado, cilantro leaves and juice from a lime wedge. Roll up and enjoy.

Jicama Slaw
Makes 4 to 5 cups

3 cups shredded red cabbage
3 cups shredded jicama
3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 small sweet red pepper thinly sliced
1 jalapano pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Combine the cabbage, jicama, green onions and peppers together in a large bowl. Whisk the lime juice, oil, Tabasco, cumin, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour over the cabbage and toss to combine. Refrigerate at least one hour and up to 6 hours. Before serving, stir in the cilantro and parsley.

Sunday Supper: Braised Short Ribs and Sweet Potato Mash

~ Braised and Glazed Beef Short Ribs ~

Never mind that September is the “real” summer in San Francisco. As you may know, in the Bay area our summer months are characterized by mist and fog and accessorized with fleece. September and October are the glorious weather months, brandishing golden sunshine, warm days and air as soft as butter.

Even still.

Once school starts up and Labor Day is crossed off the calendar, I can’t help myself. I start fingering my woolies, eyeing the fireplace, and reaching for my Dutch-oven. Sundays become slow-food days, meant for braises, stews and roasts, accompanied by squidgy mashes and bubbling gratins, with the aroma of meat and spice wafting through the house. It may be warm outside in San Francisco, but the smells of fall are in the air – and in the kitchen.

Braised and Glazed Short Ribs
Serves 4 to 6

8 4-inch short ribs with bone, 3 1/2 – 4 pounds
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium daikon radish, peeled and chopped, about 1 cup
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 750-ml. bottle full-bodied red wine
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup soy sauce

Heat oven to 325 F (170 C). Sprinkle the short ribs all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy oven-proof pot with lid over medium-high heat. Brown the short ribs on all sides, in batches, without overcrowding the pan. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pot. Add onion, carrot, daikon and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat, scraping up brown bits, until vegetables brighten in color and begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, coriander and chili powder. Sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to blend. Return short ribs to the pot, submerging in the wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off. Remove from heat and cover. Transfer pot to oven. Cook for 3 hours, or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from oven and increase oven temperature to 425 F. Transfer short ribs to a roasting pan or baking dish. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Brush the meat with the reduced sauce. Place roasting pan in oven and roast ribs until they are glazed and beginning to crisp, about 15 minutes. Serve with Sweet Potato Mash.

If you like this, you  might enjoy these recipes:
Beer-Braised Chipotle Short Ribs from TasteFood
Korean-Braised Short Ribs from Appetite for China
Beef Bourguignon from TasteFood
Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Ginger and Scallion Beef from Rasa Malaysia

Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas

~ Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas ~

It’s August, but fall is in the air. There is a deep chill to the mornings, while the afternoon sunlight colors everything a hazy golden hue, stretching long shadows into the garden.  As if on cue, apples and pears have moved into prominent display in the markets, and school lunches are once again on our mind. The first week of school, with post-summer reunions, orientations, and a significant step into high school, has finished with success. The kids are happy; so then are the parents. I can’t think of a better excuse for a little down-home Margarita-Friday celebration, along with a fiesta-inspired dinner.

Chipotle Skirt Steak Fajitas
Serves 4

For the marinade:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak

For the Avocado Corn Salsa:
1 15-ounce can black beans drained
Corn kernels from one ear of corn
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe, but not too soft, avocado, cut in 1/4 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Soft corn or flour tortillas
Garnishes: tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice

Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place skirt steak in a shallow rimmed dish (or a zip-lock bag). Pour the marinade over the steak. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight, turning once or twice.

To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. (Salsa may be made in advance to this point. Cover and refrigerate). Before serving add avocado and cilantro. Gently toss to combine.

Remove steak from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Discard marinade. Grill steak over direct high heat, turning once, until desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. (Or broil in oven, turning once). Transfer to cutting board and rest for 5 minutes. Cut against the grain in 1/2-inch strips.

To assemble fajitas, spoon Avocado Corn Salsa over a tortilla. Top with a few steak strips. Garnish with tomato salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Roll up and eat. Pass the napkins.

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Onions and Chickpeas

~ Beef Ribeye, Farro, Golden Beets, Spring Onion, Chickpeas, Tarragon ~

It’s safe to say that everything I bought today at the market ended up in this dish. Sweet onions, golden beets and fresh chickpeas vied for my attention this morning at the farmers’ market, so I did what any sensible person would do. I bought all of them. Moving on to the local ranch’s stall displaying their glistening meat, I  continued my spree and snagged 2 seriously soft and richly marbled rib eye steaks, each weighing in at nearly 1 pound each. I wasn’t sure exactly how I would put our dinner together, but I knew it would be magnificent with these fresh and earthy ingredients.

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Onions and Chickpeas
Serves 4

3 medium golden beets, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch batons or wedges
1 large sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise, each half thickly sliced in wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups farro
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 or 3 rib eye steaks, about 1 inch thick
1/2 cup shelled fresh chick peas
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
Sriracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C. Toss the beets and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until beets are tender and onions are beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the farro: Combine the stock, farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the farro is tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil,  garlic, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Partially cover to keep warm.
Prepare the steaks: Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks, without overcrowding, and cook until brown on both sides, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut steaks crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices.
While the steaks are resting, add the fresh chickpeas to the skillet and briefly saute over medium heat until their color brightens, 1 to 2 minutes.
To serve, spoon the farro into the center of a serving platter or divide among serving plates. Arrange steak in the center of the farro and drizzle with any accumulated juices. Place the vegetables around the steak and drizzle with any accumulated baking juices. Scatter the chickpeas over. Garnish with fresh tarragon. If desired drizzle with more olive oil. Serve warm with Sriracha sauce on the side.

Irish Beef Stew

I admit that I usually don’t get all hyped up about St. Patrick’s Day, but I do get excited about unique ingredients for cooking. So, as promised, here is the second post inspired by a bottle of Guinness Stout (that we somehow managed not to drink this week) which is a wonderful excuse to cook an Irish-themed meal for St. Patrick’s Day. Irish Beef Stew with Guinness is a no-nonsense kind of stew that you would expect from your mother or grandmother. Fortified with stout beer and sturdy root vegetables, this hearty no-frills stew will warm and comfort you – just like a woolen fleece on a misty grey day.

Irish Beef Stew

As most stews go, this is a humble and forgiving recipe. Add your favorite root vegetables and serve with mashed potatoes. Serves 6.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 pounds beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups stout beer
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 large carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium rutabaga, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium parsnip, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a lid. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Brown the beef in batches, without overcrowding, 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the meat to a plate and repeat with the remaining beef.
2. Add the garlic to the same pot and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Return all of the beef to the pot and stir to coat. Add the stock, beer, thyme, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. The meat should be just covered with liquid. If not, add additional stock or beer to cover. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover the pot. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until meat the is tender, about 2 hours.
3. While the meat is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep skillet or large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, rutabaga, and parsnip and lightly season with salt. Saute the vegetables until they brighten in color and begin to take on a golden hue, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Remove the stew from the oven and skim any fat on the surface of the liquid with a spoon. Stir in the vegetables and return the pot to the oven, uncovered. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the sauce is slightly reduced, the vegetables are tender, and the meat is fork-tender, about 1 hour. Remove the stew from the oven and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with mashed potatoes.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

~ Comfort in a bowl: Braised short ribs, celery root and red wine –

Rich meaty stews fortified with wine are the kitchen’s answer to wet and frosty weather. Simmered over hours, sometimes even days, the aromas of beef, wine and spice mix and mingle, concocting delicious aromas that fill the kitchen and soothe the soul. It draws us in to its embrace, tantalized by the warmth and promise of the meal to come. We are hungry yet content in the knowledge that the wait will be well worth it.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Cold weather stews coincide with an abundance of of root vegetables and sturdy tubers, stalwart allies in the fall and winter season. Celery root is the secret ingredient in this recipe, adding depth to the stock with mellow celery notes. Serves 6-8.

5 pounds short ribs
Salt
Pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 cup diced celeriac (celery root) in 1/4 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup whiskey
3 cups red wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried coriander
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Salt and pepper the short ribs. If you have time, refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before proceeding. (Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before browning.)
Preheat oven to 325 F. Heat oil over medium high heat. Add short ribs in batches without overcrowding. Brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining short ribs. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pot. Add onion, carrot, celery, celeriac and garlic. Cook, stirring up any brown bits in the pan, until vegetables begin to soften, 3 minutes. Carefully add whiskey. Bring to a boil and cook until whiskey has nearly evaporated. Add wine, stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, coriander, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Return the ribs to the pot with any collected juices. Bring to a boil. Cover pan and place in oven. Bake until the short ribs are very tender, about 3 hours. Remove from oven. Cool; refrigerate overnight.
One hour before serving, remove short ribs from refrigerator. Remove collected fat on surface of the stock. The stock will be congealed. Heat over low heat to liquify. Remove the short ribs and vegetables with a slotted spoon.* Separate the meat from the bones and discard the  bones. Bring stock to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until sauce has reduced by half. Return beef and vegetables to the stock and heat through.

*Note: If you wish to fancify the stew, remove only the beef from the reheated stock. Boil the stock with vegetables until reduced. Strain the stock through a fine meshed sieve, pressing down on solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Return beef to strained stock and discard solids.
Sauté additional carrots and rutabaga in olive oil until crisp tender. Add to the stew along with blanched and peeled pearl onions. Simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through.

Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Porcini Port Sauce

beef tenderloin tf

This recipe is worth celebrating. Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin has been selected as a winner  in this week’s Food52 contest for Your Best Holiday Roast. And that’s not the only reason it’s worthy of a party. Dried porcini mushrooms blitzed with fresh rosemary sprigs and black peppercorns create an umami-rich rub for the beef, forming a crust that melts into the meat while roasting. It’s stand alone delicious, yet when napped with a luxurious port wine reduction infused with more porcini and rosemary, this dish becomes an elegant dinner worthy of any holiday celebration. So go on, name a holiday – or just call it the weekend. This is a treat that your family and friends will be sure to enjoy. And that’s worth celebrating, too.

Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Porcini Port Sauce

Salting the  meat in advance ensures juicy results and a crispy crust. A combination of port and red wine is used in this recipe. Red wine may be substituted with additional port. Serves 6 to 8.

For the beef tenderloin:
1 center cut beef tenderloin, about 3 pounds
Salt
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Olive oil

For the Porcini Port Wine Sauce:
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 3/4 cup hot water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 cup port wine
1 cup heavy-bodied red wine
2 rosemary sprigs
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. Season the tenderloin all over with salt. Refrigerate 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Thirty minutes before roasting remove beef from the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the mushrooms, rosemary, and peppercorns in a spice grinder. Grind to a coarse powder. Rub the beef with olive oil, then coat all over with the rosemary porcini rub.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the beef and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes, turning as necessary. Transfer the beef to a roasting pan, and set the skillet aside without rinsing for the sauce.
4. Roast beef in the oven until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 125*F, about 30 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes.
5. While the beef is roasting, prepare the sauce. Strain the porcini water through an un-bleached paper towel into a small bowl. Reserve the strained liquid. Coarsely chop the porcini.
6. Add 1 tablespoon butter, the shallots, and porcini to the reserved skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the port, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Add the red wine, mushroom stock, and rosemary. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered until the sauce is reduced by about half to approximately 1 1/2 cups. Add the salt and taste for seasoning. Strain through a fine-meshed seive into a small saucepan, pressing firmly on the solids; discard solids. Heat the sauce over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep warm until serving.
7. To serve, carve the meat in slices. Serve on warm plates with the porcini port sauce.