I’ve been writing for Dean & DeLuca’s ‘Gourmet Blog‘ for a few months now and just love playing around in their market. The myriad of fine ingredients, luscious products and utensils are any chef’s, home cook’s or true gourmands haven. It’s a place to learn new things.
My most recent experience with an exclusive brand of unadultered beef (which I’ve bragged about it here) made it’s way to hundreds of thousands readers’ inbox’s through the Manhattan-based market’s e-mail blast. Exciting stuff, but it was a luck of the draw situation. I didn’t have a lot of time to be super creative, but still had to produce something amazing.
They want nothing less.
And neither do I.
I received my goodies and went to my cocina and began a lovely labor of love.
The first time I had Brandt Beef reminded me of the first time I had organically and fresh chicken, raised by my grandfather in Miami.
I was a mere 7 at the time, but distinctly remember how tender, moist and juicy that pollo tasted. I even helped my grandfather pluck the feathers. That was the last time I enjoyed chicken so much.
My experience with beef has pretty much been the same case. Seldom have I thoroughly enjoyed a well-made piece of steak that was cooked to perfection. Perfection may be relative, but in my case it requires all those attributes that young bird had many years ago. I specifically look for tenderness in the toughest cuts (flank steak is a great example), juiciness and not too overcooked, though I prefer not to see any pink or too much red.
My mother has single handedly been the one to always please and never disappoint. After all, she is responsible for exposing my taste buds to beef tongue, oxtail, tripe and other fantastic cuts.
But that’s just me. We all know and have those friends that have to have their steaks rare. However, not all steaks are meant to eat in such form. After making the Bavette steaks from Brandt Beef, I was hooked and wanted to work some of other prime cuts. It wasn’t too long before I came up with a spicy seasonings and herb combination for their short ribs.
I’ve not been adventurous enough in making shore ribs other than the commonly braising them nor had I ventured into making a super spicy version. I have an uncanny and most times annoying low tolerance to heat. For my steaks, I usually opt for anything tomato and wine based. But, something about making these with a bit of ancho chile in a spicy red wine and cilantro glaze sounded too good not to try.
I found myself in a quandary while making this succulent piece of beef. Did I want to wait over night to enjoy it the following day, requiring me to refrigerate it, or did I want to wait a few hours while it cooked the night of? It was a mean waiting game, no doubt. Needless to say, I kept my taste buds satisfied as I continued dipping my tasting spoon in the sauce.
And later nibbling on the corn purée I made to accompany my short ribs.
I initially thought I wanted to render the fat off the short ribs, but after seasoning them with my goodies, I determined it didn’t have enough fat to justify that process. Stat. This also meant I wasn’t going to let them refrigerate overnight. As long as I kept them covered up in the oven, for a reasonable amount of time, I’d yield that perfect costilla.
Lo and behold, after 3 hours of grilling, rubbing, blending, glazing and pureeing, I’d come up with a great juxtaposition of spicy and a dash of sweetness. The short ribs were juicy and tender, with a robust flavor I really wasn’t sure was going to work. The cilantro and jalapeño played extremely well with the ancho and wine reduction. The corn purée also had a role in ensuring a smooth bite with my beef. The asparagus spears topped it all off with its slight crunch, though I almost would have been completely better off with either more corn purée or another rib.
But, that would make me greedy since I had invited a local journalist to have lunch with me.
She left just like I wanted her to: tweeting a picture of my new favorite summer dinner!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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Ancho Chile & Cilantro Short Rib with Sweet Corn Purée by Bren
- 3 short ribs
- 3 tsp. ancho chile powder, parted
- 1 tsp. cumin, parted
- 1 tsp. sea salt, parted
- 2 tbsp. basil garlic olive oil
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 med. jalapeño, minced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1.5 cups red wine (Chilean)
- 1 tbsp. four pepper corn (crushed)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Rinse and pat dry short ribs. Place in large plate. Rub 1.5 tsp. of ancho chile on both sides of ribs. Do the same with cumin
and sea salt. Cover and let marinade for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat Basil Garlic Olive in grill. Cook short ribs for 6-7 minutes on each side until entire rib is brown. Remove from heat, place on baking sheet and place on middle rack of oven. Cook ribs for 30 minutes, uncovered. While ribs are cooking in oven, make sauce. Using blender or processor, add garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, water and 4 peppercorn. Blend for 1 minute or until cilantro has liquified. In large skillet, add wine and stir until it almost begins to boil. Lower heat, add brown sugar and sauce from blender. Stir in remainder salt, cumin and ancho powder. On low heat, stir sauce continuously until it has reduced or thickened up, about 10-15 minutes. Remove ribs from oven and place in deep casserole dish or deep pan. Pour sauce over ribs, covering them completely. Cover with aluminum foil and place back in oven. Lower heat to 250 and cook for additional 30-45 minutes, until ribs are tender and juicy. Remove from heat and cut rib into 3 parts, where bones are.
For Sweet Corn Purée:
- 2 cups fresh corn, parted
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 heaping tsp. butter
- 1 heaping tsp. sugar
- salt to taste
- 3 pinches ancho chile powder
Add 1 cup of corn kernels, whipping cream, water and sugar to blender or food processor. Pulse until most of the corn has broken down and is smooth. In separate non-stick skillet, turn heat to medium and melt butter. Stir in corn puree, remaining corn kernels, ancho powder and salt to taste. Whisk until all ingredients are well blended. Maintain heat on medium and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Scoop 1/2 – 1 cup corn purée onto oval or curved plate. Place one one short rib on top of corn, rubbing some of the sauce on top. Lay 3-4 baby spears of grilled or roasted asparagus on top of short rib, in diagonal shape.