Sunday, July 31, 2011

Braised Short Ribs with Grits

I loved braised meats.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that - and I don't care what time of year it is.  I picked up some grass fed, all natural, Virginia beef short ribs at the South of the James Farmers Market in Forest Hill this weekend.  It was our first trip to this particular market and I have to say it was quite nice with plenty of interesting goods and people.  Fresh local produce, pasta, honey, bread, fish, meats, pastries, crafts, etc.  Nearly all of the food products were organically grown and obviously raised locally.  The prices were a little on the high side, but then just like at any market, you have to shop around with the different vendors.  Besides, if you're getting a superior product, you expect to pay more - I'm fine with that.

I'd say the only thing about this market was most of the folks clearly come from a very left of center viewpoint, so someone who leans to the right could feel a little out of place.  But just about the time I was thinking about how out of place we were, I noticed one of the vendors wearing a t-shirt with a quote from Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of the UK.  The quote reads, "The problem with your socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money."  I had to comment and she replied that no one else had commented on her shirt.  I told her I couldn't imagine why and snickered.  I then said, you must feel at least a little out-gunned, right?  She just replied with a smile, not out gunned - just out numbered.  I laughed and gave her my business.  I mean, how could I not?

Anyhow, back to those lovely short ribs:  I dry aged the meat for about 24 hours in the fridge then gave a healthy dash of Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.  After tempering, I seared the ribs in EVOO in the enamel coated cast iron dutch oven and then set aside.  Next I sauteed the veggies: carrots, celery, yellow onion, and garlic (add last) until golden brown and softened.  I then pureed the veggies and added them back to the pan.  After crusting and deglazing, I added tomato paste and repeated the deglazing.  I then added about three cups of bold red wine (Tempranillo/ Garnacha) and allowed that to reduce by half.  Lastly I added the ribs to the dutch oven and topped up the rich sauce with some of my homemade veggie stock until the ribs were nearly covered.  I tossed in some fresh thyme from the patio herb garden and some natural sugar and placed the dutch oven in the preheated oven on 375 and cooked for 3 hours covered.  I flipped the ribs about half way through and then uncovered them for about the last 20 minutes.

I also love grits with braised beef (like any good southern boy) but these are jazzed up a bit.  After preparing and whisking as usual, I added unsalted butter, whole milk, white pepper, kosher salt, a premium aged sharp white cheddar, and fresh grated parmesan reggiano.  The asparagus was sauteed on a high heat in EVOO and lightly seasoned with s/p.

Click here for more Margaret Thatcher Quotes.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

"I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph."

"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing."

"To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects."

"Socialists cry, 'Power to the people,' and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean—power over people, power to the State."

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