Monday, August 13, 2007

Winging It

I saw short ribs at the market this morning and I wanted them. I have never made short ribs before, but have greatly enjoyed eating them. I just got it into my head that what I really wanted to make for Sunday's dinner was short rib ravioli. It would allow me to use my pasta roller for something other than a paperweight and it would be something new - something I was sure the man of the house would enjoy eating.

And since I couldn't find a recipe that was exactly what I wanted, I decided to give it a go on my own. for posterity's sake, and the sakes of anyone else who finds him or herself beset by this selfsame hankering, I give you the recipe.

Braised Short Ribs

200 grams mirepoix
2 cloves garlic
4 short ribs of beef (each weighing approximately 300 grams/10 oz)
500 grams (1 lb.) assorted heirloom tomatoes (black cherry, green grape, and some cool red one)
75 ml olive oil
375 ml (half a bottle) decent red wine (leftover from overbuying at Passover)
400 ml beef stock
spoonful of veal demiglace
bunches of rosemary, oregano, and thyme
hit of cognac
s&p to taste

Season ribs with s&p. Heat oil in a pan that can go in your oven (used my cast iron dutch oven, but theoretically one could use a cast iron pan and aluminum foil or pretty much anything by Le Creuset). When oil is really quite hot, brown the ribs on all sides - really truly brown them. I did mine for about 17 minutes. Take out ribs.

Put in mirepoix and garlic and cook until onions (or shallots, or leeks) are browned. Add some more s&p and then add stock, wine, and splash of cognac; take your beautiful tomatoes and mercilessly crush them into pan, skin, juice, seeds, and all, and add herbs (in cheesecloth or simply tied with kitchen twine). Make sure browned meaty bits get off the bottom of the pan and into your mixture. Cook this until it boils and toss your ribs back in.

Cover your pot/pan and stick in oven (350 - it is a strange day full of unusual delights that sees me set my oven to anything else - also I'm convinced that even though I have two oven thermometers strategically placed at different points in the oven that it still registers 25 degrees below actual temperature). I cooked mine for 5 hours because I really didn't want to ass around with meat still on the bone. I just abandoned my creation to its inevitable deformation and thought about dessert for a while, or more accurately, pasta dough.

Pasta Dough
4 large eggs
250 grams flour (the normal kind)

You know the drill: make flour well add eggs slowly incorporating until what you have looks like pasta dough (not flaky, not slimy - the perfect in between). Refrigerate until it doesn't immediately fall apart in your hands, and until your filling has been made and sufficiently chilled, and then put through pasta roller until desired thickness is achieved (I used the setting 5).

I made square ravioli because I don't have one of those kickass fluted dough cutters like my mom. Take thin dough - cut into strips. Put braised short rib yumminess into center of strips for as many ravioli as you think you can get out of your strip (remembering that if you want your ravioli to shut you will need some room around the edges). Affix second strip to first strip and cut out your squares, sealing with fingers.

Reduce meaty/tomato-ey/boozy/herby yumminess meat was cooked in until it tastes like something you'd want to pour over your ravioli.

Heat much heavily salted water until boiling, drop in ravioli, cook to desired tenderness, remove, heap reduced yumminess on top, fresh pepper, cheese, eat.

There were tons of leftovers, as we're only two, and I froze the remaining short rib mush which I think will work great as leftovers over mashed potatoes. The extra dough went into the freezer for the next time I feel like rolling out my own pasta.

Oh, and I made the Apricot Brulee Tart for dessert.

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