Sunday, October 19, 2014

Braised Beef Short ribs with Red Wine Gravy

Braised Beef Short ribs with Red Wine Gravy
serves 6
                                                                             Prep time: 20 minutes
                                                                             Cook time:  2 hours 30 minutes
                                                                             Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes

The secrets to this delicious beef dish is the long, slow cooking of the short ribs and  the unique gravy.  The gravy is  created by passing  the vegetables through a food  mill and the touch  of balsamic at the very end to finish it off adds interest.  Around our house we say it's a well rounded meal since we get both our meat course and our vegetable side in  one dish.    Don't fuss over the dice size too much since all the vegetables will be . . . essentially pureed in the end.


6 pounds of meaty beef short ribs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cups chopped onions
3 cups diced turnips, cut into 3/4 dice
2 cups diced carrots cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 cups diced celery, cut into 1/4 inch dice
8 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1/4 pound sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1/4 cup fresh thyme sprigs, lightly packed
5 large fresh sage leaves
5 bay leaves
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup port wine
3 cups chicken broth

Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Form a bouquet garni of the thyme, sage leaves, and bay leaves.

brown the ribs:

Place the ribs in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and dredge each rib in flour shaking off excess flour and return to the baking sheet.  In a large, heavy Dutch over heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook ribs until browned all over, about 10 minutes per batch, and return the browned ribs to the sheet.

brown the vegetables:
Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to pot. Add the onions, the turnips, the carrots, the celery, and the garlic; cook until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown, about 12 minutes, stirring often.  

Add sun-dried tomatoes and stir to coat. Return ribs to pot, placing on sides to fit in single layer. Add the wine, the port, and the bouquet garni and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add broth; cover and bring to simmer.

braise the ribs:

Transfer the Dutch oven to oven and braise until ribs are tender, about 2 hours. Let stand, covered, at room temperature 15 minutes.

create the red wine gravy:

After the ribs have had time to rest, carefully transfer ribs to large bowl, keeping meat attached to bones if possible.  Pass all braising liquid and vegetables through food mill into large bowl; return braising liquid to the Dutch oven.  Correct seasoning to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Turn the heat on under the Dutch oven to medium and re-warm the gravy. Return ribs to gravy, cover and simmer to re-warm the ribs, about 5 minutes.


Serve over buttered rice or accompanied by mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Beef Pita Gyros
serves 4 to 6
Why pay $6 or $7 for a Gyros in a restaurant or from a street vendor when you can easily make them at  home for about $1 and no, you don't need a fancy vertical broiler . . .  here's how. 

                                                                                        Prep time:   1 hour
                                                                                       Cook time:  54 minutes
                                                                                       Total time:  1 hour 54 minutes  
Gyros meat:

1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dry oregano
½ yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 clove garlic, peeled
5 slices of sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 –inch pieces

Tzatziki sauce:

1 large cucumber (about 1 ½ cups of chopped cucumber)
1 ½ cups yogurt*
½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste


1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 cucumbers, peeled and medium diced

4 to 6 pieces of pita bread

create the Tzatziki sauce:

1.  Trim the ends off the cucumber and with a vegetable peeler remove and discard the skin. Cut the cucumber lengthwise in half; scoop out seeds.
2.  Finely chop the cucumber and transfer it to a medium bowl. Stir in the yogurt, mint, oil, and garlic, and season with salt. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use*.

 *The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week in a lidded container.

create the Gyro meat: 

1.  Combine the ground beef, salt, pepper and oregano in a large bowl using your hands to evenly distribute the spices. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
2.  After the meat and spice mixture has rested, transfer the mixture from the bowl to the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, garlic and bacon and process until a smooth puree is formed, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
first bake of the Gyro meat:

1.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil to make cleanup easy and, with moist hands, shape the meat mixture into a rectangular loaf about 8 inches long and 5 inches wide.
2.  Bake the meat loaf in the oven until the center of the loaf reaches 155° F, about 30 to 35 minutes.
3.  Remove the baked meatloaf from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

second bake of the Gyro meat:

1.   Adjust the rack of your oven to its highest position and turn on the broiler.  Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
2.  Slice the rested and cooled meatloaf crosswise into very thin pieces, approximately 1/8-inch thick. Lay the strips on on the prepared baking sheet and broil the slices until edges are browned and crispy, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Monitor the browning of the slices closely as the broiler browns the meat rapidly. 


To serve the Gyros place a platter with the gyros meat on a service table accompanied by warm warm pita, the Tzatziki sauce, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, and diced cucumbers and allow the diners to construct their own Pita Gyro. 

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