22 October 2006

Me, Myself, and I or Date Night Menu #3

I was saying to mySelf, “self, why did you commit to writing a date night menu once a week?” Well, myself said back to me, “Self, why it is so hard to commit to a date night menu for you?” Next I heard mySelf saying, “I have a hard time committing in general—and since myself and mySelf are single, date night actually happens to be the busiest night of the week.”

Myself conceded and so we (as in the queen's proverbial “we”) decided that “date night menu” will follow date night and not precede date night. Myself apologizes; mySelf cannot seem to manage.

This recipe is from my new favorite cookbook, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. They are very talented food writers from the little news paper known modestly as The New York Times. They also happen to be Amanda Hesser’s favorite—I like Amanda, so I like them. If you like southern food, this book is well planned and intelligently written.

Texas Red-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Grits

Serving for 6 (umm…I’m gonna say that you might need two rounds in the event of a long night…)

Short Ribs

3 ½ pounds Beef Short Ribs
1 ½ tablespoons Kosher Salt, plus more for taste
3 large Yellow Onions, trimmed, peeled and quartered
8 Garlic cloves, husks removed
3 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons Oil
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground Black Pepper
2 cups Sunday Beef Broth (recipe to follow) or one 14 ½ ounce can beef broth
3 Ancho Chilies, torn in half, stemmed, and seeded
3 Pasilla Chilies, torn in half, stemmed, and seeded
One 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
¼ cup semisweet Chocolate Chips

Season ribs with salt and pepper
Toss onions and garlic with oil and salt and pepper in a 9-x-13-inch roasting pan and broil three inches from flame
for 8-10 minutes until the veggies are charred slightly
Preheat oven to 325
Bring broth to a boil over high heat. Once it boils turn it off.
Heat 3 T oil in a cast iron skillet and toast all the chilies
until they are soft (about 30 seconds) and then transfer to the broth
Add more oil to the cast iron skillet and turn on high and add the shortribs and sear until the surfaces are brown.
Blend the charred garlic and onions in a food processor. Add the tomatoes and process into a smooth puree and reserve into a bowl.
Add the chilies and broth and puree until smooth.
Add the chili puree to the tomatoes to the degree of heat that you desire.
Once that is achieved stir in the chocolate.
Place short ribs in the roasting pan you used for the onions and garlic and spoon over the “red sauce”.
Cover and bake for two hours or until they are falling off of the bone.
Serve on a plate with simple grits (recipe to follow)

Simple Grits

2 cups Whole Milk
2 cups Water
1 cup Stone-Ground Grits
¾ teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly Ground Black Pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon Butter

Bring Milk and Water up to a boil. Add the Grits and Salt and reduce the heat to medium. Stir until the grits are thick and soupy and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Bring to a simmer and stir every couple of minutes for another twenty minutes.
Cook for 15 minutes more stirring constantly.
When the grits are done turn off heat and season and add butter. Serve immediately.

Sunday Beef Broth

1 tablespoon Canola Oil
1 pound Oxtails
½ diced Yellow Onion
½ cup diced Carrot
3 large Bay Leaves
¼ cup full-bodied Red Wine
6 cups cold Water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in stockpot until it shimmers. Add Oxtails and sear. Remove and reserve to a bowl.
Add onion and carrot and bay leaves to the pot and cook until softened. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon.
Simmer in wine for 3 minutes.
Return oxtails to the stockpot and add water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer gently for an hour, skimming the surface intermittently.
Strain with a fine mesh strainer and throw away solids. Store stock in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for two days or freezer for a few months.

If the date goes well, then you can use the left over grits for breakfast; just add bacon and cheddar.


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Blogger ANA CALDERON said...


23 October, 2006 15:49  

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