If you haven’t decided on what you are serving for holiday dinner at this late date, I’ve got the answer for you. Short ribs. No, not cowboy, barbequed, grilled outside short ribs… pretty short ribs. All dressed up for dinner on china plates short ribs.
Quite a few years ago, I started the tradition of cooking our little family’s holiday dinner on the Sunday before Christmas. We drag out the fancy plates and glasses on stems and the four of us have a holiday dinner together before the hustle and bustle of traveling to share the “official” holiday with our extended family. It has become one of my favorite memories.
When my children were small, we spent every holiday “on the road” at Grandma’s house. It was nice for my children to see their cousins but, after a while, I realized they didn’t have any memories of Christmas in our home; no sense of who we were as a family and no flavors or aromas that would make them long to come home for the holidays even after they were grown. I decided I had to fix that right away and viola… Hoopes Family Holiday Dinners… a week early.
Having our own family dinner early has freed up my imagination and allowed me to serve anything I like. In fact, I stay away from the traditional turkey that is served every Thanksgiving and Christmas by my husband’s family. Our favorite dinners have turned out Pork Tenderloin and Porcini “Tamales” with Sweet Potato Haystacks for Thanksgiving and real “Dickens style” Christmas dinner with a Bone in Prime Rib with roasted potatoes and of coarse, homemade rolls.
This year, unsuspectingly, I went to the butcher department to order my prime rib. Boy, did I get a shock! The price! Thinking fast, so my butcher didn’t catch on, I changed my order to short ribs. I had the most delicious short ribs at Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern several times in San Francisco. They were perfect for a “fancy” dinner. So, why not make them for my boys?
I did some research and even called Wayfare Tavern to find out exactly what was in the garish. The host was so suprized to get a call from Phoenix, that he actually went and asked the chef (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Chef Florence but, I have met him there so, you never know). The short rib is not currently on the menu, so I don’t feel bad sharing my attempt to copy it. I hope he approves.
I also did some research of Florence’s recipes as well as classic short ribs recipes and have come up with a version that is pretty darn close. I changed the cooking method from his Bistro Short Ribs to a traditional searing method instead of grilling them over a gas grill and finished the sauce with a little butter. Oh yeah, I also traded the shaved, black truffle on the Wayfare Tavern short rib for a little roasted cremini compound butter. I seem to be out of black truffles at the moment.
Give it a try at your next dressed up dinner or as a cozy dinner on a winter’s night.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 pounds beef short ribs, bone in
- Kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 large tomato, quartered
- 3 ribs celery
- ½ head garlic, peeled
- ¼ bunch fresh thyme
- 1½ cups low-sodium, organic beef stock
- ½ pound butter
- ¼ pound wild or cremini mushrooms
- sea salt
- 3 celery stalks cut into alumettes (1/4 by ¼ by 2½ inch sticks)
- 3 pears also cut into alumettes
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- ½ lemon, juiced
- salt, to taste
- fresh black pepper to taste
- 2 sticks butter cut into cubes
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley leaves
- Preheat large dutch oven or stock pot on stove over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add thyme and stir for about one minute, Do not burn.
- Add vegetable pulp to the pot and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes. Pour in the red wine and beef stock and bring to a boil. Place the short ribs into the vegetable and stock mixture making sure to “nestle” them into the liquid. The braising mixture should almost cover the ribs. If there are too many ribs to fit into a single layer in the pan, use two pans. Do not stack the ribs on top of each other.
- Place the lid on the pot, leaving it “ajar,” reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is tender but, still holds together; about 2½ to 3 hours.
- While the ribs are cooking, prepare the compound butter by brushing away any of the dirt that may be on the mushrooms. Roast the mushroom at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until you can smell the mushrooms. Be careful not to burn them. Let the mushrooms cool and roughly chop. Mince the mushrooms in a food processor or finely by hand. Stir the cooled mushrooms into the softened butter. Spoon the butter on to a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a cylinder with the diameter a little larger than a quarter. Chill until ready to use.
- When the ribs are almost finished cooking. Remove about 2 cups of the liquid and reduce slightly in a sauce pan until thickened.
- Remove short ribs from pan and place on warm serving plater. Top with a slice of mushroom compound butter.
- When ready to serve, bring the sauce back to a simmer. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in cubes of butter. Spoon the sauce over the short rib and butter
- Garnish with Pear and Celery Salad.
- To make the salad, cut 3 pears and 3 celery stalks into ¼ by ¼ by 2½ inch sticks. Be sure to keep some of the celery leaves on the small, thin stalks at the top of the celery stalk and use them in the salad.
- Mix the creme fraiche with the juice of ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the pears and celery alumettes in the cream fraiche and serve on top of each short rib.
- Trim the leaves and tender parts of the flat leaf parsley and sprinkle on the top of the salad.
Sending you the warmest wishes I know how to send, Merry Christmas!
From Sandy and Donna