Throughout the Summer and Fall we occasionally host wine lunches and dinners at our winery for special guests and wine lovers. Today I am preparing dinner for an adventurous group of 30 world travelers and wine patrons who plan unique, unusual venues for a yearly get together of their special group (they even have a special name for themselves).Last year they held their dinner on the Great Wall of China! I usually rely on my make it ahead short rib recipe which I have been making for many years. For this group I tweaked it a bit and liked the results so much, I think that this is my new standby. The chocolate, orange and mustard in the red wine reduction is a real game changer. And, it is a very rich sauce that will pair well with our big California Cabernet Sauvignon. So for appetizers, I will be making some pizzas, including Mac’s Lobster Pizza (recipe on this site) and a Pear, Procuitto, Blue Cheese Pizza, as well as my old favorite from Sante Fe’s Pink Adobe, shrimp. Next will be a Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms from Food52. The short ribs will be served upon a nest of a simple potato pancake, and accompanied by my Spicy Butternut Squash (recipe on this site) and sauteed fennel, celery and onions. Dessert will be my rich and decadent Coffee-Nochella Bread Pudding , topped with unsweetened whipped cream. A little glass of my homemade Nocino will also be served. I hope that not much later, I will be off to dreamland!
CALIFORNIA SHORT RIBS
6 pounds beef short ribs, bone in (be sure and ask your butcher for the meaty end only) 2 cups sweet yellow onions, chopped 1 cup celery, chopped 1 cup carrots, chopped 1 1/2 whole bottle dry red wine (I used Cabernet) 1 tablespoon bittersweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons orange zest , wide strips (or make Francis Mallmann’s Orange Confit…fabulous) 1 teaspoon dijon mustard Olive oil to saute short ribs and vegetables
1. Salt and pepper the ribs and brown them on all sides in a little olive oil in a large dutch oven.
2. When the ribs are browned on all sides, remove them from the pot. Pour off the fat, then add a little olive oil. Add the vegetables and saute them until the onion becomes translucent .
3. Add the red wine to the pot, then add back the ribs and if needed cover with enough water . Add the orange or orange confit into the pot
4. Put the lid on the dutch oven and braise the short ribs in a 275 degree oven for about 3 hours, or until very tender.
5. Remove from the oven; using a slotted spoon remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Also remove the vegetables and press to extract all the juice that you can.
6. Strain the sauce and return to the pot. Add the orange back to the pot.
7. Heat the sauce and add the chocolate, the orange, and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the orange.
8. Finish by swirling the mustard into the sauce.
9. Reheat the ribs.
10. Serve with sauce poured over the meat, and pass a pitcher of sauce for those who want more.