Monday, February 1, 2010

another brush with greatness



Behold! Another recipe from Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft cookbook. Many of the recipes in the book involve a complicated meat preparation in order to produce the sandwiches. I was initially intimidated by this, but then realized that the recipes make for two nights of meals: one where I cook the meat and eat it as the entree, the second when I use the leftover meat to make my sandwich. In a post on Serious Eats last week, I was reminded of a goal of mine: to make one large meat portion that will last for two or more meals. Stretching meat in this way is more economical, healthier, and more earth-friendly.

I made the short ribs Saturday evening (be ready to spend several hours near the kitchen) and then made the sandwiches Monday night for a quicker dinner. I couldn't imagine making the short ribs and the sandwich in one shot. This way worked much better.

The short ribs were served with very simple mashed red-skinned potatoes and the carrots that roasted with the meat. The mashed potato recipe is included below. Don't shy away from the horseradish in the sauce--I went on the light side and wished I had included the full amount for flavor. Also, for the sandwiches I didn't get around to pickling the vegetables, but I really wish I had. We just topped the sandwich with some thinly sliced radishes and carrots, but the tart quick-pickles would have really brightened the overall flavor. You'll need to make the veggies ahead, as they have to refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Maybe next time I'll make them while the meat braises.

Beer-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Pickled Vegetables, Aged Cheddar, and Horseradish

adapted from 'wichcraft by Tom Colicchio

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless short ribs, cut into 4 pieces (I used about 1 1/2 lbs with bones in, worked fine)
1/2 small carrot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 cups brown ale (I used a winter ale that I had on hand)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or a few shakes of dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, roughly crushed
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
4 thick slices aged cheddar
1 cup pickled vegetables (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Add the oil to a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear on all sides. (According to Smitten Kitchen, this step should not be rushed nor should the ribs be crowded. It should take between 15 and 45 minutes and can be done in two shifts if there's not enough room.) Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic to the same skillet and saute until caramelized. Add the ale and deglaze. Place the meat back into the skillet and add the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cover the skillet and transfer to the oven. Braise for about 2 1/2 hours, until fork tender. Remove and transfer the meat to a clean skillet. Keep oven on.

Strain the braising liquid and discard the fat. In a bowl, combine the strained liquid and the horseradish, and pour over the meat in the new skillet. Over low heat, glaze the meat as the liquid reduces. Remove from the heat when the pot is almost dry.

Mashed Red-Skinned Potatoes


2 pound red potatoes
1 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

Cut potatoes (with skin) into 1-inch pieces, then generously cover with cold salted water (1 teaspoon salt for 5 cups water) in a large saucepan and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat milk, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.

Drain potatoes well in a colander and return to pan. Mash with a potato masher, and, while hot, stir in milk mixture. Season with salt.

Cut the baguette into four pieces and slice each in half. Remove some of the bread from the top halves. Slice the meat and distribute one piece on each bottom half of bread. Spoon some of the liquid left in the skillet over the meat. Place the cheese on top of the meat and transfer to the oven together with the top slices of bread. Remove once the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. Spread some horseradish on the top slices (optional, but recommended). On the bottom halves, top the cheese with the pickled vegetables. Close the sandwiches, cut into halves, and serve.

Pickled Vegetables

from 'wichcraft by Tom Colicchio

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 star anise
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 bulb fennel, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 large carrot, sliced on the bias and cut in half (about 1 cup)
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
4 garlic cloves

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups water, the vinegar, wine, sugar, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, star anise, and salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and pour into a large bowl containing the fennel, carrot, radishes, and garlic. Set aside and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Keeps well if refrigerated in its liquid for up to 2 weeks.

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