WRITTEN BY Jane Mekik
No other time of year begs for a warm and fragrant kitchen quite like January. So when conjuring up a menu worthy of a wintry evening in Park City, Utah, I knew I would end up sharing a meal that simmers long and slow in my trusty Le Creuset Dutch oven.
Inspired by the traditional French stew, Boeuf a la Bourguignon, this modern take uses melt-in-your-mouth short ribs and a port and red wine braising liquid, all ladled over buttery pappardelle noodles. It is comfort food that is at once rustic and elegant, just like the town by which it was inspired.
To round out the meal, I like to start with a light salad of arugula, blood orange and a few shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Keep dessert simple and pick up a few brownies from Windy Ridge Bakery. Warm them up slightly in the oven while you’re clearing the table, and serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. You will be spending your days on the slopes, so the indulgence is absolutely justified.
And just in case the day gets away from you and “dining in” is no longer an option, I highly recommend Talisker on Main for locally inspired fare in a cozy venue.
See full post for recipes!
½ cup Marcona almonds
3 good size blood oranges
¼ pound Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 ounces arugula
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
Using a good sharp knife, slice the tops and bottoms off the oranges. Stand them up on one end, and working from top to bottom, following the shape of the fruit, remove the peel and pith. Then slice each orange into ¼” pinwheels.
For the Parmigiano-Reggiano, shave slices off into good-sized shards. Place the arugula in a stainless bowl and toss with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the oil, vinegar and honey, and gently toss with hands to coat. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
To serve, arrange slices of orange on chilled salad plates. Top with arugula, cheese and a scattering of almonds. Give each plate an extra crank of fresh cracked pepper and a little sprinkling of good salt.
BRAISED SHORT-RIBS WITH PEARL ONIONS IN PORT WINE
6 beef short ribs, 14 to 16 ounces each(ask for 3 bone center-cut)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut into lardons (1⁄4 inch strips)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 whole sprigs thyme
3 dozen pearl onions
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1⁄2 cup diced carrot
1⁄3 cup diced celery
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup port
2 cups good dry red wine (Pinot Noir or Cote Du Rhone)
6 cups beef stock
Freshly cracked pepper
2 packages dried pappardelle noodles (8.8 ounces each)
1⁄2 stick of good butter
Remove short ribs from the refrigerator one hour before cooking and allow them to become to room temperature. After about 30 minutes, season well with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Toss the pearl onions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the tablespoon of thyme leaves and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast 15 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven and let them cool enough to touch. Slip off the skins with your fingers. Set aside.
Turn oven down to 300 F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the bacon is golden, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve.
In the same pan, turn the heat up to medium high. Add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil and wait until it is almost smoking. Then add the short ribs and sear in batches, without crowding. Make sure they are nicely browned on all sides. This will take up to 15 minutes. Don’t rush! The searing of the meat is the most important step towards getting that rich flavor in the braising liquid. Remove the ribs and reserve with the bacon.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon and scrape up all the crusty browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook around 8 minutes or until veggies are just beginning to caramelize (but without browning the onions).
Add the balsamic, port and red wine. Turn heat up to high and reduce the liquid by ½. Then add the stock and bring everything back up to a boil. Add the bacon and gently arrange the ribs in the Dutch oven. The stock-wine mixture should just barely cover the meat. Cover the Dutch oven tightly with aluminum foil, and then cover with a heavy fitting lid. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours. To check for doneness, remove lid and foil (caution: the steam that escapes will be hot!). The meat should almost be falling off the bone.
Heat a big pot of salted water for pasta. When the meat is done, let it rest for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a baking sheet. Turn oven up to 400 F. Place ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes and let them get good and browned. Strain the cooking juices into a saucepan, pressing down on the veggies and bacon to get the flavor out. Skim fat, and reduce it over medium-high heat to reduce slightly. You want the sauce good and rich. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Add pearl onions and let them warm up in the sauce.
Boil pappardelle noodles according to instructions. When done, strain into a colander. In the same pot, add the butter and throw the noodles back in, tossing until butter is melted and pappardelle is nicely coated.
To serve, fill wide brasserie-style bowls with a generous serving of buttery noodles, arrange meat on top and spoon over plenty of the braising liquid and onions. Delicious with a little extra oven-warmed crusty bread and butter.