The last month has been a whirlwind of activity and business for Dawn and I and I am sure that shows in our infrequent posts. Last weekend we visited The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland which is run by Chef/Owner Jonathon Sawyer, one of the 2010 Food&Wine top new chefs. The food was imaginative and superb, beginning with the complimentary country pork pate served with fresh baked bread to the deconstructed pan seared pork chop saltimbocca including country ham and pommes puree instead of the more traditional prosciutto and polenta. The dish truly shined with the addition of a maple glaze on the pork chop, but that gets me to the main reason why we have been so busy and infrequent in our posts.
We have been crunching numbers and researching over the last couple months in preparation of opening a small pizza venture here in Columbus. It is simultaneously nerve racking and exciting. Exciting because of the opportunity to bring extraordinary pizza to an area with a million pizza places and a mere handful of outstanding pies. Nerve racking because the economy is in the shape that it is. We are working on bridging the gap between locally sourced quality ingredients and affordability that customers are looking for in our modern time. But, I will not ramble on forever about the future when there is a dish I want to share with you.
I recently finished a book by Bill Buford titled "Heat: an amateur's adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany," that resonated with me when I saw beef short ribs in the market. The preparations of meat that are prepared by Dario Cecchini are wonderful and foreign to me in their homage to Italian tradition. This foreignness could be the fascination toward the amazing cuisine of Northern Italy. I altered the slow cooked beef dish to incorporate short ribs with a similar focus on rusticity and the divine nature of slow cooking tough cuts.
One aspect that always draws me toward braising, other than the delicious melt in your mouth texture, is the simplicity. With a handful of ingredients, including beef short ribs, carrots, garlic, wine, milk, rosemary, red pepper flakes, butter, polenta, salt and cinnamon, magical things happen. The name of the dish is 20 Hour Short Ribs over Polenta and Cinnamon Brown Butter Sauce. I hope you will try it, even when you are strapped for time and don't feel like making something after work. It is snap to prepare the night before you are going to eat it. The oven does all the heavy lifting and you can sleep and go to work then pull it out of the oven in time for dinner with only a quick polenta and sauce to prepare.
20 Hour Short Ribs over Polenta and Cinnamon Brown Butter Sauce
1 1/2 - 2 # beef short ribs
2 carrots peeled and chopped in eighths
4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
20 oz. cabernet sauvignon or other old world red
2 T dried rosemary
1 T dried red pepper flakes
Preferably brown short ribs for a few minutes in the pot you are going to cook them on the stovetop. If you are strapped for time you can skip this step. After you have browned the short ribs add the other ingredients, stir well, and arrange evenly. Transfer in the covered pot to a 250 degree oven for twenty hours checking once or twice to assure there is still a bit of liquid. After the liquid is nearly evaporated and the ribs are falling apart tender remove from the oven.
Cinnamon Brown butter sauce
8 T unsalted butter
1 T light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
Melt butter until all the milk solids have evaporated then add the other ingredients and stir to incorporate dissolving the salt and sugar. Continue cooking over low heat until browned.
2 1/4 C whole milk
2/3 C instant polenta
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup good (2 year) grated parmigiano reggiano
1 T unsalted butter
Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add the polenta, pepper, and cheese whisking to combine. Turn the heat down to low and add butter at the time the polenta is the desired consistency. Whisk to combine and spoon onto plates.
Spoon polenta onto plates then short ribs and carrots on top. Drizzle cinnamon brown butter, a sprinkle of parmigiano, and pepper flakes on top and enjoy with a nice supple Primitivo.