Thursday, March 27, 2014

Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine, Rosemary and Pancetta. Fall off the bone and smack your mama.

I know we're all tired of winter. I know we're ready for lighter meals outside with the summer breeze at our backs, pool parties and frozen drinks with tiny umbrellas in them.

But these are too good to wait to post until next year so I'm going to be unfashionably out of season and post them now.

Here's what gets me about short ribs prepared this way. The meat develops a crust on top as if you're biting into a delicious crispy meat chip. But the interior is tender and yielding dripping with all this red-wine-laced-butteriness. In fact I was shocked to learn this recipe actually has no butter in it (it was one of the reasons I could eat it with my baby's dairy allergy.) But that's the magic of short ribs, especially ones seared in pancetta fat. Mmm hmmm.

Anyway forget that this is literally one of the best things you'll ever put in your mouth. Forget the fact that it's company and special occasion worthy. What makes this recipe even more insane is that you can (and should) make it a couple of days ahead of time. The flavor and texture of the meat just gets better and better as it sits in the fridge getting drunk on wine and pancetta juice.

I also love that you serve them from the same big ole pot you make them in. It's rustic and chic at the same time.

So if you want to wish Old Man Winter farewell on one of these last chilly nights whip this up and invite friends around to feast and drink a bunch of red wine over plates of these short ribs (or even better make them for the Game of Thrones premiere in ten days. Woo hoo!)

Because before we know it we'll all be complaining about the heat and mosquitos.

*These can be made gluten free/Paleo by using coconut flour or alternative flour of choice to dredge the meat in before searing.
*The only thing I do differently than PW for this recipe is to sear the ribs for way longer than 45 minutes per side to really get the edges brown and crisp before turning. If you don't get them crisp and brown now, you never will and then you won't have that amazing contrast of textures later so sear them however long it takes you. I have a hunch she uses a cast iron pan or something that gets crazy hotter than my Le Creuset because mine always need way longer than 45 seconds per side - more like 5 minutes.

Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary, Red Wine and Pancetta
Recipe by The Pioneer Woman
Direct Link to Recipe/PW Site:


  • 8 whole Beef Short Ribs
  •  Kosher Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour or enough to coat (use coconut flour or other for gluten free)
  • 6 pieces Pancetta, Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Diced
  • 2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
  • 2 cups Red Wine
  • 2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary

Preparation Instructions

Salt and pepper ribs, then dredge in flour. Set aside.
In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.
Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side (FYI this always takes way longer for them to brown, more like 5 min per side.) Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.
Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until onions are soft. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.
Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate for up to 1-2 days, then remove solid fat from the top. Then just reheat in a 325 oven for 25-30 minutes until heated through.)
Serve 2 ribs on bed of creamy polenta or mashed potatoes or celery root puree, spooning a little juice over the top.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nigella's Terracotta Bean Dip

Hello! Anyone out there? It's been a while.

I actually started writing this post last night. I was almost giddy with excitement. My baby was down for the night and there I was spending some alone time with my blog for the first time in months feeling the old creative juices flowing again. I began typing rapid fire. I felt free! Like galloping bareback on my pony when I was a kid. And then…Sawyer woke up. Screaming actually. Blogging ended before it began.

But it was okay. Partly because he looks like this.

But also because there's something selfishly awesome about when your baby wakes up crying from a nightmare or whatever reason and you can be there to make it all better. I walked him around for almost an hour even though he stopped crying the second I picked him up.

This is a far different place from where we were a couple of months ago. You see part of my long absence wasn't just having a baby but having a baby with severe food allergies. Who literally never stopped crying once he started. Poor guy. But that's another post - maybe even another blog.

Anyway we went to a friend's on Saturday and she was such an amazing host and cook that I was actually inspired to post the dip I'd taken over that night.

I'm finally coming out of the baby fog y'all. And I'm going to feed every damn one of you.

Nigella's Terracotta Bean Dip
Mildly adapted from FEAST
* A twist on your typical bean dip, this one uses red kidney beans and a mix of warm spices. I absolutely loved the lime in it it so I put the zest in the dip as well as on top. This is an unusual, but not weird change of pace and easy to make.

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (or 3 shallots)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin (I'd even try upping it next time)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne, optional
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans (including the juice)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, or to taste
zest and juice of a medium lime
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Tortilla chips or pita chips for serving

Heat the oil in a medium/large cast iron pan or heavy bottom pan for one minute over medium heat. Add the onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and sauté until soft and golden. Stir in the garlic and sauté a couple more minutes. Add in the tomato paste and spices and stir around cooking a few more minutes to let the flavors deepen.

Add in the beans and liquid from the can and cook a couple more minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner to let cool for a bit. Then transfer to a food processor and add in the lime zest (you can reserve a little zest for garnish if desired) and juice and additional 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until as much a puree as the skins on the beans will allow.

Taste for salt and add any more or pepper if you wish and blend again.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with additional zest and cilantro. Serve right away or refrigerate for up to eight hours before serving with tortilla or pita chips to serve.