There exists a tension in any food blogging household. (Mine can't be all that unique.) First there is the chef's earnest and primary desire to put out a great meal for friends and family. Then there is the secondary and often competing force associated with the blogger's goal: getting a great photo. The bloggers reading this know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that the two goals are not always in sync! For us getting dinner on the table is not the usual end of the story -- not by a long shot. We also have to construct an elaborate place setting or pretty-up a serving platter, stage it, set up a tripod or extra lighting and shoot it all in the name of getting that all important photo. More often than not my husband has to delay his nightly dinner approach while I struggle with the horrible lighting in our dining room or kitchen to get the "good shot". "Baby, please is it ok to eat this now?"
This weeks French Friday with Dorie assignment, Short Ribs with Red Wine and Port, like many of Dorie's main dish selections, screamed out for a houseful of my best friends to come over share it with. When it was time to eat I had to acquiesce and let everyone dig in despite my nagging desire to get a decent shot of this dish. If I had my way I would have dragged out my spotlights from the garage, set up the tripod and staged away. As it was I barely had a minute and managed to take only two pictures in low light without a tripod. The best shot of the two you see below. Its fuzzy and out of focus 'cause I was pushed out of the way by everyone advancing to the buffet table. (Eagle eye Doristas will spot last week's Pancetta Green Beans in the frame as well. This dinner was made over a week ago but I didn't have time to give the beans the post they clearly deserved -- so they are sharing space here today with the ribs.) The shot at the top of this post is actually a leftover the next night. I'm thinking we will be seeing a lot more shots of leftovers on this blog! Even this rib, however, didn't last long enough for me to get a better read on my lighting and settings. Hubby scooped it up and ate it as soon as he heard the camera click.
My thoughts on the actual recipe? Dorie's recipe is nearly identical to several recipes I had in my 'to do' list including the one from my fave, The Balthazar Cookbook. Dorie's innovation with the dish is the inclusion of the gremolata. The citrus-garlic gremolata is what takes this dish to to the next level so be sure not to skip it. (I even whipped up some for the leftovers, it was that important.) I stuck close to the recipe excepting for using veal stock as called for at Balthazar instead of the beef variety. On TV I once saw The Ina suggesting that one should tie the ribs to the bone with kitchen twine prior to braising in order to keep them attached. Its not necessary for reasons of taste but it makes for a better presentation -- just in case one was inclined to make an attempt to get the best photo.
(Dorie posted the recipe at Bon Appetit so I'm posting it here too...)
- 2 fresh parsley sprigs
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 Turkish bay leaves
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 1 whole star anise
- Leaves from 2 celery stalks
- 8 3 1/2- to 4-inch beef short ribs (about 3 1/2 pounds), tough membranes removed
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2 carrots, trimmed, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed, thinly sliced
- 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups fruity red wine (such as Syrah)
- 1 cup ruby Port
- 3 cups low-salt beef broth
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely grated tangerine peel
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
2) Arrange short ribs, bone side up, on prepared sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil ribs 5 minutes. Turn ribs over and broil on meat side until browned and sizzling, about 10 minutes. Transfer ribs to large bowl. Position rack in center of oven and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
3) Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, sliced celery, garlic, and ginger; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables are softened and browned in spots, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste; reduce heat to medium and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add wine, Port, and herb bundle. Increase heat to high; boil 5 minutes. Add ribs, bone side up and in single layer, to pot; add broth and bring to boil. Cover pot with foil, then lid; transfer to oven. Braise until meat is very tender and falls off bones, about 2 hours.
4)Transfer ribs to large bowl. Spoon off fat from surface of pan juices and reserve 1 tablespoon fat (discard remaining fat). Pour pan juices through strainer set over medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid. Discard solids. Return juices to pot; boil until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Whisk reserved 1 tablespoon fat with 1 tablespoon flour in small bowl; whisk flour mixture into juices and boil until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Season with pepper. Return ribs to pot.
Gremolata : Mix parsley, tangerine peel, and garlic in small bowl. Divide ribs and sauce among 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with gremolata
DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Before continuing, rewarm ribs in sauce until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes.