-->We remember going to our Yiayia and Papou's house for Sunday dinner. Walking into the home wafting with incredible aromas, it was evident that whatever Yi was cooking had been braising for a long time. Some memorable dishes included her famous tomato sauce and slow-braised chicken. To this day, we are perplexed as to how she made her sauce so flavorful. She always said it was the slow cooking of the onions, and the addition of lots of mint and oregano. She would throw the ingredients in a large pot and let them meld together while catching up and socializing with family. Often dishes requiring the least amount of effort are the best for entertaining. It allows you to enjoy the time with your guests outside of the kitchen.
A braised dish is a marvel in itself, taking into consideration its transformation of appearance, taste, and texture over time. In our opinion, the longer a dish braises, the better it becomes. All the individual ingredients become one, cohesive, incredibly flavorful dish. After a long work week, we decided to braise short ribs with red wine and dried cherries, and spoon them over pumpkin risotto. A delicious and warming autumn meal!
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Dried Cherries
4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces
3 T vegetable oil
1 diced onion
3 diced carrots
3 diced celery stalks
3 T flour
2 T tomato paste
2 c red wine
3 c chicken broth
I head of garlic, halved crosswise
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 T dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/3 c dried cherries
salt and pepper throughout
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the short ribs liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven on high and add half of the short ribs to brown. Brown the ribs on all sides, about 1 minute per side, and then transfer to a plate and add the second batch. Pour out half of the dripping from the pot and lower the heat to medium-high.
Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste and stir until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the wine until it comes up to a boil. Add the short ribs back into the pan. Lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, garlic, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven. Cook for an hour and a half and then add the dried cherries. Cook for an hour and a half longer until the short ribs are tender.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the short ribs, cherries (plump, and no longer dry), and other bits to a plate. Pour the sauce into a heat safe bowl and let sit for a few minutes until the fat separates to the surface. Spoon the fat off the surface then pour back into the Dutch oven. Season the sauce to taste and then pour over the short ribs when ready to serve.
2 T EVOO
2 T butter
2 finely diced shallots
1 minced garlic clove
1 T lemon juice
2/3 c white wine (whatever you’re drinking!)
4 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1 t ground nutmeg
1 T chopped sage
3/4 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c Parmesan cheese (feel free to use more if you’re a cheese fan)
salt and pepper throughout
In a small pot, heat the chicken broth on a low flame. In a separate pan, saute the shallots in the olive oil and butter on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and nutmeg, and sage and stir for a couple more minutes. Add the rice to toast for a few more minutes. Add a ladle of chicken broth to the toasted rice mixture. Once that is absorbed, add the wine.
Add 2 ladles of broth at a time to the sauteed rice mixture. Once it is absorbed, add more. This process will most likely take approximately 20 minutes. Feel free to stir the rice to keep it from sticking and quicken the absorption. Eventually, the rice will plump up and have a creamy texture. At this point, stir in the pumpkin puree and the lemon juice. Once you are happy with the consistency, take the risotto off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. This serves 4-5 generous portions.
The subtly sweet pumpkin risotto is the perfect base for the robust short ribs and cherries. Visually, the yellow ochre tinted base with deep burgundy entree, served on a deep garnet dish, all create quite the autumn themed presentation.