Anyone who has been to one of our Wine Club dinners knows how well our wine and short ribs go together! What makes it work? A new book by Chef Harry “Coach” Mills and Sommelier Chris Horn from Purple Cafe and Wine Bar in Seattle aims to help wine and food lovers figure that out. The book is titled, Cook + Cork: A Chef and a Sommelier Spill the Secrets of Food and Wine Pairing.
Cook + Cork is a resource offering a fresh perspective on selecting a bottle of wine – the right bottle of wine – with your meal. It’s about making dinner a better experience, taking anxiety out of purchasing a bottle of wine, and how to approach cooking in a way that complements said bottle. It’s also a cookbook. The authors have been kind enough to share this recipe from the book with us. By the way, we happen to have copies of the book available for purchase in our tasting room, so come get a copy!
2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
Flour, for dredging (optional)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bottle full-bodied red wine
1 yellow onion, cut into large dice
1 carrot, cut into large dice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 ¾ cups to 2 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1. Heat the oven to 300˚ F.
2. Salt the short ribs as far in advance as you can (up to 3 days). Store them unwrapped in the refrigerator; ideally on a rack, until you’re ready to use them.
3. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Dredge them in flour if desired.
4. Heat half the oil in a dutch oven to medium-high heat, and sear the beef on all sides except the bone side. Sear the beef in small batches and remove each piece when it is thoroughly browned. Discard the fat in the pan, but not the crispy brown bits that have formed on the bottom. Add the rest of the oil and bring the heat back up. Don’t let the bits on the bottom of the pan burn.
5. Add the onion and carrots and cook vigorously, stirring until the onions and the carrot begin to brown. The moisture in the veggies will cause the fond to dislodge. If it doesn’t, add a splash or two of wine to loosen it.
6. Add the tomato paste and stir; cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a full boil. After several minutes, most of the alcohol will have burned off.
7. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns to the wine. Return the short ribs to the pan and just enough beef stock to come to the top of the short ribs. Return to a simmer. Do not completely submerge the ribs, or your sauce will lose concentration. Cover the pan very tightly and place it in the oven. Cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours, checking occasionally to be sure the liquid is simmering gently, not boiling (reduce the oven temperature if it’s cooking too vigorously). The ribs should cook until they’re fork tender.
8. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375˚F.
9. Carefully remove the ribs from the pot, and using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the liquid into the saucepan. Press all of the extra liquid from the vegetables and then discard them. Simmer, skim, and reduce the sauce to a nice, glossy consistency that coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes.
10. Taste the sauce for seasoning. It is still going to reduce a bit more, so it shouldn’t be salty at this point. If it is, add a little more beef stock (or water, if your stock is salty) to decrease the salinity. The sauce should be rich and slightly reminiscent of red wine.
11. Place the ribs in a baking dish and pour the sauce over them. You are going to glaze them by repeatedly basting them with the sauce while you make the polenta. Pull the pan out every 5 minutes or so and baste the meat. The sauce will slowly reduce to a glaze right on the surface of the meat.
While the ribs are glazing, prepare polenta. Chef Harry has a recipe for Gorgonzola Polenta in the book. You may also enjoy the Creamy Ricotta Polenta recipe that Helen prepares at the winery.
Whatever polenta recipe you use, place a mound in a large, warmed diner bowl. Place a piece of short rib on top of the polenta. Give the sauce a taste and salt if necessary. Spoon the sauce around the base of the polenta.
This recipe appears in the chapter on tannic red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Mourvèdre all fall within this category. Note that Chris also recommends selecting a young wine since tannins soften as a wine ages.
If you picked up a bottle of our Estate Petit Verdot during fall release, this recipe would be a great match for it. Although, Big Papa Old Block Cabernet and Emmy Mourvèdre would also work well.