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cajun pork and peppers fajitas
crockpot TexMex chicken stew, rice
red snapper with bell pepper and tomato
corn and red pepper bisque, cheddar jalapeno biscuits
hoisin pork with rice noodles
green chili chicken tacos, black beans
apricot glazed chicken skewers, brown rice, broccoli

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Short Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I first made this dish back in January for a girls' dinner I hosted. The same scenario played out then as it did this week, it was cold (cold for Houston, aka 55 degrees) so I decided to make short ribs for the dinner party. Once the weekend rolled around, it was sunny and warm...just like today.

The recipe is from my favorite magazine, Cooks Illustrated. The recipe calls for boneless short ribs since they produce so much less fat than bone in. The even better part is that Costco has boneless short ribs.

The mashed potatoes are sort of my own mish mash (ha!) of mashed potatoes I like.

Short Ribs

3 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs , trimmed of excess fat (see note and technique below)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions , peeled and sliced thin from pole to pole (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 medium garlic cloves , peeled
2 cups red wine (see note)
1 cup beef broth
4 large carrots , peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin

Instructions
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until smoking. Add half of beef and cook, without moving, until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn beef and continue to cook on second side until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes longer, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke. Transfer beef to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and meat.

2. Reduce heat to medium, add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. (If onions begin to darken too quickly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to pan.) Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until it browns on sides and bottom of pan, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, add wine and simmer, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth, carrots, thyme, and bay leaf. Add beef and any accumulated juices to pot; cover and bring to simmer. Transfer pot to oven and cook, using tongs to turn meat twice during cooking, until fork slips easily in and out of meat, 2 to 2½ hours.

3. Place water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top; let stand at least 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer meat and carrots to serving platter and tent with foil. Strain cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator or bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Allow liquid to settle about 5 minutes and strain off fat. Return cooking liquid to Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture; season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over meat and serve.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup half and half or cream
4 tablespoons of butter

Peel (or don't peel) and cut potatoes into 1 inches pieces. Boil potatoes until fork tender. While potatoes are boiling, heat cream, butter and garlic in a small saucepan. Drain potatoes and add the warm cream mixture. Hand mash or whip potatoes until they reach desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
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