Thursday, January 28, 2010

What night is this again??? Short Rib Dinner Party

We postponed last week's dinner with our friends until Tuesday. The thing is, Tuesday is kind of a weird night for a dinner party. Which meant an evening of everyone being convinced that it had to be Thursday or Friday.
I spent pretty much the whole day working on dinner. (Not typical... usually our dinners come together in way under an hour.) But between the grocery store, braising the meat, cooking lemon curd, shaving beets (and scrubbing my hands afterwards) it was a 9 hour affair. And the meal? Well worth the effort, I'd say!

Event: Tuesday Night Indulgence
Menu: Winter Salad
Braised Short Ribs with Dijon
Beet Risotto
Roasted Baby Carrots with Fennel
Lemon Curd Mousse

All of the recipes came from the Gourmet Today Cookbook... which is becoming one of my favorites! (My only complaint- no food photos!) I made modifications as indicated.

Simple Winter Salad
1 endive, cored and sliced lengthwise
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, cored and sliced lengthwise, thinly
1 granny smith apple, cored and sliced into matchsticks
4 cups mixed greens
2 ounces goat cheese (GT says aged goat cheese, which wasn't available at HEB- CM or WF would probably have it)

for dressing:
2 tsp shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (GT says 3/4 cup, but I think the ratio of oil to vinegar it too high)

Toss together endive, fennel, apple, and greens. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small cup or bowl. Drizzle greens with dressing, top with goat cheese crumbles.

Braised Short Ribs with Dijon
1 bottle dry red wine (which you later reduce to 1 cup, gotta love a recipe where you reduce a whole bottle of wine)
4 lbs beef short ribs, cut into 2 1/2 inch lengths
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
10 shallots, peeled, leaving root ends in tact and halved lengthwise
3 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard
6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth (my addition to the recipe- there wasn't enough cooking liquid

Boil wine in a 2-3 qt saucepan, uncovered until reduced to about 1 cup, about 20 mins.
Meanwhile, pat ribs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 5qt pot (I use my Calphalon "everyday pan" for things like this, and just about everything else.) over medium high heat. Add ribs, in two batches, and brown, turning occationally, about 8mins per batch. Transfer to a bowl.
Reduce heat to moderate and add shallots to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until golden brown.Transfer to another bowl.
Stir reduced wine and dijon into cooking liquid, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan. Add ribs, meat side down, cover tightly and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Gently stir in shallots and tomatoes and add broth. Continue to simmer for about an hour or more, if time allows, until meat is very tender. Carefully transfer ribs, shallots, and tomatoes to serving platter. Spoon pan juices over them and serve!

Modified Beet Risotto 
6 medium beets, trimmed and halved
4 cups water
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 c fresh grated parmesan
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

PH oven to 450. Wrap beets in foil. Roast until tender about 1 1/2 hours. Carefully unwrap and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel beets.
Cut enough beets into 1/2 inch pieces to make 2 cups. Puree remaining beets with 1 cup water, in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a 3-4 qt saucepan. Stir in remaining water and bring to a simmer.
Heat butter in a large stock pot over medium heat until foam subsides. Add onion, garlic, and 1 tsp salt and cook until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in rice and cook 1 minute. Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring constantly.
Add 1/2 c "beet broth" and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until beet broth is absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, 1/2 c at a time. Make sure that it is absorbed before adding more. When 1/2 of broth has been used, add chopped beets to mixture and stir. Continue adding broth and stirring as before, until rice is al dente and all liquid has been absorbed. (about 18 mins) Stir in parmesan cheese and pepper. Serve immediately, with additional cheese.

Roasted Baby Carrots with Fennel
1 bunch baby carrots with green tops
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp fennel fronds, chopped

PH oven to 425. Trim carrots and remove all but 1-2 inches of stalks. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fennel fronds in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes.

Gotta take a break- dessert in another post!

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