Friday, January 30

sophisticated super bowl food for a more grown-up clientele: aka wing shortage subsistence recipe

meowrson welles says: knowing our readership as well as i have come to do over this year, i am certain that my dear friends have heard about the impending wing shortage threatening to ruin our super bowl sundays. i am of the opinion that the arizona cardinals have already threatened to ruin our super bowl sundays, but i digress. there are other options for manly meaty foods that are delicious to eat while watching any manner of sporting event. you can save your super bowl party by serving a different option, one so delicious that no-one will notice the lack of crispy, spicy, buttery, flightless bird wings. one i'd like to mention is a delicious short ribs recipe that would be perfect for the more discerning palates amongst your friends. it takes more time than chicken wings would -- but it is not very labor-intensive and short ribs are inexpensive so it is even wallet-friendly!

braised short-ribs
1/2 cup olive oil (contrary to popular belief, you don't have to worry about it being "extra-virgin" if you're cooking with it)
8 lbs bone-in short-ribs
kosher salt and black pepper
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
10 minced garlic cloves (more or less according to taste but don't go over 12 and don't go under 5)
4 cups medium- to full-bodied red wine (for example a merlot or cabernet is fine)
1 28-oz can of peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand and with their juices (muir glen is a good, reasonably-priced domestic choice)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (if you don't want to make this yourself, get a low sodium version from a reputable brand. i've had luck with imagine organics vegetable broth)
4 tbsp herbes de provence
2 tbsp oregano (if you prefer or have access to fresh herbs, please feel free to substitute 1 bunch oregano, 1 bunch thyme, and 1 bunch rosemary instead of dried oregano and herbes de provence)

preheat the oven to 375 degrees farenheit. prep the meat by seasoning well with salt and pepper. in a large (5 qt. or larger) dutch oven, heat olive oil on high until smoking and cook seasoned short ribs over high heat until there's a lovely deep brown crust on all sides, about 15 minutes. do your ribs in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan; the meat releases steam as it sears and a build up of steam can interfere with the creation of the flavorful outside crust. 2 lbs will likely be 3-4 batches. remove ribs to a plate and set aside.

add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic to the dutch oven and cook over high heat until browned (4-5 minutes). season with a little salt and pepper, turn to heat to medium-high, and and stir in the red wine, tomatoes with juices, chicken stock, and herbs, scraping the bottom of the dutch oven with a spoon to loosen any browned bits of meat or vegetable. bring mixture to a boil then turn off heat entirely, and add the short-ribs back to the dutch oven.

take some aluminum foil and create a concave lid -- the foil should dip down over the pot to come close to the meat. place the normal lid on top of this to keep the foil perfectly in place and stick in the oven. cook for at least 2 and a half hours, without opening the oven or peeking even one time. after the time is up, remove from oven and peek inside. the ribs will absorb at least half of the liquid that was originally in the pot, and will be very tender and sliding off the bones when finished. it's very hard to ruin meat slow-cooking it like this, so if it still looks too watery inside the pot, shove it back in the oven for another half hour to an hour.

while this is in the oven, you can go for a jog, go to the zoo, shoot some pidgeons to make "pidgeon wings," listen to steely dan...whatever it is that you would normally do. or you could make this gremolata topping for your meat, which adds a little zest to the very bold and rich flavors of this dish.

gremolata topping
1 tbsp parsley (or 1/2 bunch-ish of fresh flat-leaf parsley)
1-2 tbsp lemon juice (to taste, basically)
3 tbsp prepared horseradish

just mix it all together. it's pretty easy. put into the refrigerator until time to eat.

enjoy this with a dark ale, or the same type of wine that you used in the recipe. it'll serve at least 8 people, depending on how hungry they are and how much huge beef flavor they can handle in their face. feel free to cut this recipe in half or 1/4 to make a more regular sized meal -- with slow cooking you can really basically wing things a bit more.

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