Braised Beef Short Ribs with Truffled French Fries
I frequently get asked what style of food is my favorite/specialty/whatever. I am not a fan of answering that question or any favorite question as I find it too general and lacking in context. If forced, however, I won’t name any country or region, I won’t discuss molecular gastronomy, or culinary towers in tribute to my ego. I will say that Highly Elevated Peasant Food Executed with Great Care and Sophistication is my specialty. I love the dish that pays homage to the classic and the homey while still being worthy of fine dining placement. My Lamb Ragu Pappardelle and Tomato Cream Sauce isn’t exactly like the northern Italian dish that mothers have made for centuries but I’ve proudly served it to some of the most educated palates on my client list and done so to rave reviews.
This Beef Short Rib dish is also a terrific example of my “favorite” style of food. I could eat this every day for a week and never tire of it, so it was a natural for dinner last Sunday with some friends – and sadly this was the only course I forgot to photograph.
3 tablespoons of canola or other vegetable oil
4-5 pounds of bone-in short ribs
1 large red onion thinly sliced (run through a mandoline is preferable)
2 carrots sliced
4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
2 shallots thinly sliced
1 finger of thyme
2 cups of flour
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
3 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 bottle of dry red wine (I prefer to use a ½ a bottle of Syrah and ½ a bottle of Pinot Noir)
1 cup of Sherry
1 cup of beef stock
3 medium to large baking potatoes
2 teaspoons white truffle oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 quarts of Peanut Oil
Heat the canola oil over medium to medium-high heat, and preheat the oven to 360 degrees. In a mixing bowl, blend the flour, salt and pepper. Coat each of the short ribs with the flour mixture and dust away excess. Brown each piece of meat on all sides until a crust has formed. Place all of the meat in a Dutch Oven and cover.
Reduce the heat in the pan to medium-low and deglaze the pan with wine. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and onions to the pan. Cook them until the shallots are translucent (the garlic will be just a touch browned at this point.) Add the remaining wine to the mixture and reduce the heat to low. At the simmer point, pour the mixture into the Dutch Oven, add the carrots, cover and place in the oven. Cook for two and a half to three hours. Remove the meat, setting aside the bones*, and place in another dish and cover. Strain the braising liquid into a sauce pan (feel free to spoon some of the onions and shallots from the strainer into the sauce pan and puree with an immersion blender.) Over a low flame add a pat of butter and splash of whipping cream, and stir until slightly thickened.
Julienne** the potatoes and soak in water for at least one hour. In a large deep pot heat peanut oil*** to 300 degrees (you should have a candy/deep fry thermometer for this) or over medium low heat until a drop of water will “pop.” Dry the potatoes well and place them in the oil (in batches) until tender (about three minutes) and remove and place on paper towels to drain oil. Turn the oil up to 360 degrees or medium-medium-high. Return the fries to the oil until nicely crisped (about two minutes) and remove them for draining. Place them in a mixing bowl and toss with Truffle Oil, a generous sprinkling of kosher salt, and a dusting of pepper. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the fries to serve.
Serve the short ribs and fries on one plate and sauce**** the meat after plating.
* Use the bones to make the stock you’ll need for the next time you make this or any dish requiring beef stock.
** So much easier to do this with a Mandoline – I highly recommend this one for 95% of home cooks.
*** You may not need all of the peanut oil, it will depend on the shape and depth of the pot. You want to have a depth of at least four inches.
**** You will not use all of the sauce, but it is way too good to toss. Freeze it because it is way too good to waste.