After the New Year’s Eve luxury food let’s return to more modest but not necessarily less tasty fare. Earlier this year I made cholent, a traditional Jewish dish that is braised overnight to avoid kitchen work on shabbat. Now low-temperature braised beef is a wonderful thing, and so I decided to take this concept and use it for a more generic approach that does require some work the next day. Cooking time is of course highly uncritical. But I do recommend to cook it for at least 12 hours.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 2 decently sized pieces of beef shortrib
- 200 ml robust red wine (Bordeaux or Burgundy is fine)
- 250 g pearl onions or small regular onions
- 2 large starchy potatoes
- 2 marrow bones
- 100 ml heavy cream
- 1 carrot
- 1 parsnip
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- Vegetable oil or clarified butter
- Preparation: 15 minutes
- Cooking time: 24 hours unattended + 1 hour the next day
Preheat the oven to 90 degrees. Peel the onions but thave them intact. Cut the carrot and the parsnip in small chunks. Season the shortribs with salt and pepper.
Heat some vegetable oil or clarified butter in an ovenproof braising vessel and brown the ribs on all sides. Remove and lightly brown brown the vegetables, adding a little salt. Deglaze with a splash of wine and add the meat, then add the rest of the wine as well as the cloves and the bay leaves.
Cover and put the vessel into the oven. Make sure the temperature is low enough so the liquid is not boiling. Turn the meat two or three times during cooking since the liquid will not cover everyting.
The next day, cook the potatoes unpeeled until soft. While the potatoes are cooking remove the marrow from the bones using a sharp paring knife. Break up the marrow in several pieces and render them on low heat in a small saucepan or skillet. Strain the fat though a metal sieve (a plastic sieve will melt) and set aside.
Remove the braising pot from the oven and strain the liquid into a saucepan, then teturn the pot to the oven. There will likely be quite a bit of fat that would be too much for a proper sauce. The surplus can be easily removed with a few strips of kitchen paper carefully dropped horizontally onto the surface and pulled up again, but you should not remove all fat.
Reduce the sauce on low heat. You may want to add a little starch or flour dissolved in a splash of wine to improve the texture. But be careful no to use to much, the sauce is not supposed to become gloopy. To finish the sauce you can also add a little fruit jelly or a splash of sweet sherry.
When the potatoes are soft peel them and mash them in a saucepan. Stir for a minutes on low heat to evaporate excess water. Incorporate the marrow fat and adjust the texture with cream to your preference. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.