Braised Short Ribs

Chef Tom Valenti

Potato, Portobello, and Goat Cheese Timbale
Braised Short Ribs and Creamy Polenta
Berries Gratin

Potato, Portobello and Goat Cheese Timbale
Serves 4

Coarse salt
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 4 to 8 sprigs, if desired, for garnish
2 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
4 ounces good quality fresh goat cheese, softened at room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil the potatoes in salted water until easily pierced with the blade of a knife. Cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and reserve. (This can be done ahead of time.)

In a large bowl combine olive oil, garlic and thyme. Toss portobellos in the seasoned oil, transfer to a bake sheet and cook until tender, about eight to ten minutes. Reserve, cool and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. (This can be done ahead of time.)

Toss the potatoes with olive oil and create alternating 1/2-inch layers of potato and portobello in four ring molds, seasoning with salt and pepper between layers. Top each timbale with a quarter of the goat cheese and bake in a 375-degree oven. Transfer timbales to serving plates, remove ring molds, and serve.

Braised Short Ribs

Serves 4
This recipe captures all the soul-nourishing qualities of beef stew, but does so with the beef still on the bone. It's extremely adaptable in that you can serve it simply with some braising liquid and roasted vegetables, or chill, slice, and grill it, or make it the basis of a satisfying sandwich. You can also chop it and stuff ravioli with it. Keep the bone-side up while cooking to ensure that the meat stays submerged and moist while cooking. For a dynamic presentation, skip the step of removing the bone and slice the short rib with the bone in.

Serve with some simple roasted vegetables.

2 pieces short ribs, 3 ribs each piece (about 2 1/2 pounds each)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 anchovy fillets
1 whole head garlic, cut in half
2 cups red wine
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 oz white vinegar
1/2 oz white granulated sugar

THE DAY BEFORE COOKING, score the fat covering the bones and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pot set over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the pot and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook 1 - 2 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, anchovies, and garlic and cook another 2 - 3 minutes. Add the red and white wine, the vinegar, and the sugar, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and add the veal and chicken stocks. Raise the heat and return to the boil.

Pour the remaining oil into a saute pan and place over medium-high heat. Add the ribs to the pan and brown on both sides using tongs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the ribs to a roasting pan, bone-side up, and pour the braising liquid over the top.

Cover the roasting pan with foil and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and cook for 3 more hours or until bones remove easily and meat is very soft; turn the ribs over during the last 15 minutes to brown them a bit.

Remove the ribs from the braising liquid and strain. Skim all the fat you can from the liquid and pass as a sauce.

Creamy Polenta
2 cups milk
4 oz white corn meal
2 oz butter
salt and pepper

Bring milk and butter to a boil
Whisk in corn meal -- slowly
Season with salt and pepper
Whisk until polenta begins to thicken. Then switch to a plastic spatula. Stir until polenta until it no longer sticks to the back of the spatula. Season again to taste.

Berries Gratin

3 large eggs, separate into whites and yolks
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup sugar

Add lemon juice to egg yolks and whisk over a double boiler until they triple in volume or can hold a ribbon.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar and egg whites and whip until soft peaks form.
Fold the two together.

Place berries on plate, pour a little mixture on top. Place in a broiler over until light brown; watch carefully because this can happen fast.

You can also torch the top like a brulee.