Monday, February 15, 2010

Short Ribs and Gnocchi

Valentine's Dinner...what to cook?!

Valentine's Day for me and my Sweetie this year is a bit special, as it marks a date just short of a month before our 10-year Anniversary. So, what kind of dinner can I make to celebrate the occasion? It had to be something substantial, as this is a special occasion, and it had to be something new, that I had never cooked before.

I chose Beef Short Ribs, because they just sounded good, and I had never attempted the whole braising method on this particular cut before. For a starch, I decided to go with Gnocchi in Browned Butter and Sage. While somewhat time consuming, the beef ribs were well worth it, and actually not that much actual work. As for the gnocchi, I cheated a bit and went with a prepared, refrigerated option that I found at my local market; they were OK, but not as good as I've had in some of my favorite Italian restaurants. I think next time I will have to make them from scratch.

Beef Short Ribs and Gnocchi for Two: (I used this recipe as a starting point)

Ingredients for beef
    2 lbs Beef Short Ribs (this turned out to be 4 pieces, rather large, meaty cuts - they may vary Olive oil
    1/2 cup diced onion
    1/2 cup diced carrot
    2 medium garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/4 cup beer
    1/2 cup red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon, since that's what we would be drinking later with the dinner).
    1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
    1/4 cup chicken stock (recipe called for Beef Stock, though I had homemade chicken stock on-hand)
    Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Ingredients for gnocchi
    10 oz package of refrigerated fresh potato gnocchi
    Fresh sage
    Chicken Stock
For the meat:
    • Preheat oven to 325° F
    • Season the meat on all sides with salt and pepper.
    • Heat a a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized heavy oven-proof skillet, brazier, or enameled cast iron cookware (one with a fitted lid) on the stove.
    • Brown all sides of meat in the skillet and then remove to a plate. Drain off most of the remaining fat from the pan and return to heat.
    • Add carrots & onion and about a 1/4 tsp Salt to the hot pan and cook to to brown the onions. (add a bit more oil if vegetables stick to pan)
    • When vegetables are browned and aromatic, add the beer and allow to reduce, scraping the bottom bits from the pan.
    • When reduced, down, add the garlic, coriander, cumin, chili powder and stir to incorporate.
    • Follow by adding the wine, crushed tomatoes, stock, and 1/2 - 3/4 cup water to the pan.
    • Return the meat to the pan and bring to a simmer, then cover with lid and place in the oven on the center rack.
    • Cook for 3 hours, turning the meat over a few times in the sauce.
    • When finished cooking, remove ribs and place in baking dish fitted with a lid, and transfer sauce to a suitable sized measuring cup, or jar and refrigerate.
    • After 30 - 40 minutes, remove sauce from fridge and skim of fat. Then puree the sauce with an immersion blender or in a free standing blender.
    • Pour sauce over ribs and return the baking dish to an oven set at 325° F, and reheat meat and sauce for about 45 minutes, or until heated through.

    For the Gnocchi:

    • Boil 10 oz. prepared Gnocchi according to the package instructions (3 mins, or so).
    • Place about 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet on medium heat, and allow to brown (not burn), until the butter is clear and amber colored.
    • Add about 10 - 15 fresh sage leaves to the butter and the drained gnocchi.
    • Fry the gnocchi in the butter until the are slightly browned and the sage leaves are wilted, then add a few tabelspooons of the chicken stock and swirl the pan a bit and allow stock to evaporate.
    • Season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

    Spoon a bit of meat sauce out onto two plates and place the meat to one side or the plate. Serve gnocchi along side the meat.


    Lené Gary said...

    Sounds delicious! Looks delicious. :)

    Skytouch said...

    Great recipe and a wonderful photo, thanks for sharing! Sky (aka zenpotluck)