Sunday, February 05, 2006

A cozy dinner for 3

On a wintery night, our friend Hamiid came over for dinner last night.

We indulged in crostini, bourbon-pomegranate molasses braised ribs and a strawberry-apple white cake, a menu that yields maximum results for minimum effort.

We first sipped a Saint Émilion 1986 that was given to Hamiid by one of his dear friends a few years ago. Unfortunately, my limited wine knowledge prevents me from being to comment fully on the wine. However, I can say that it was nice and that both M and I felt honored that Hamiid had decided to share that special bottle with us.

Two different kinds of crostini accompanied that wine: sardines and roasted red peppers, and duck rillettes with onion-maple syrup confit. The rillettes were a souvenir we had bought in Lac Brôme when we visited the Eastern Townships two years ago, while the onion confit comes from La Galerie gourmande in Deschambault. Yum!

I had bought braising ribs at Fresh from the Farm, curious to see what all the fuss is about. I must say that the bourbon pomegranate molasses braised ribs that Stacey made over at Just Braise were worth it. However, her recipe calls for a two-hour cooking time, which was really not long enough last night. We ended up eating after waiting for three hours, and the meat was not quite tender yet. A fourth hour of baking would have been in order - but we were too ravenous! Basmati rice and steamed broccoli rounded out the meal.

Finally, we had a simple warm-milk cake with strawberries and apples. Had my fridge freezer not been quite so full, I would have bought vanilla ice cream to go along with the cake. Oh well...

Bourbon-Molasses Beef Short Ribs

4 short ribs (Find ones with a good fat-meat ratio)
1 Tbl butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalepeño pepper, chopped (if a little spice is desired)
3 bay leaves
¼ tsp thyme
¼ cup bourbon
1 Tbl tomato paste
1-½ cups water
1 Tbl soy sauce
2 anchovy filets
seeds of ½ a pomegranate (optional)
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses (or regular molasses)
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. In an oven safe pot, or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Cover both sides of the short ribs with an ample amount of pepper and brown the ribs (about 3 minutes each side). In the braise process this initial quick heat process locks the juices inside the meat. Remove the ribs and place on a separate plate.

Add the garlic, carrot, celery, onion, jalepeño and anchovies. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add bay leaves, thyme, bourbon, tomato paste, water, soy sauce and (optional) pomegranate seeds. Return ribs to pot, cover tightly and place in oven on center rack. Cook for 2 hours.

Once removed from the oven the sauce will have thickened and the aroma will be overwhelmingly delicious. Add pomegranate or regular molasses, stir and serve.

Notes to self:
1. This is Stacey's exact recipe.
2. We did not really see the difference the bourbon made to how the sauce tasted. I guess we'll have to try the recipe again without the bourbon and compare...
3. Definitely needs more than two hours of baking.
4. Somehow, the leftovers were not great. If planning to make this in advance, do not add the molasses until you are ready to serve.

Warm-milk cake with strawberries and apples

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup scalded milk
1 tbsp butter

2 cups quartered strawberries
3 apples, peeled and chopped
A bit of sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the fruit in a lightly buttered pan, and sprinkle with sugar.

Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is foamy and the sugar has dissolved.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt and pour over the egg-sugar mixture. Stir well.

Melt the butter in the warm milk and pour over the other mixture, stirring vigorously.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the centre is completely cooked.

Notes to self:

1. I have a tendency to undercook my cakes, so the centre was still raw when I took the cake out of the oven.
2. Fruit is optional, and interchangeable in that recipe.


Blogger stacey said...

The whole dinner sounds amazing. This is the second time someone has mentioned they needed more than the two hour cook time on these.... very strange as mine was def only two hours. I'd like to say it's the pot? The dessert sounds fabulous...

February 07, 2006 11:58 p.m.  
Blogger Louise said...

Thanks for the comment, Stacey. It could very well be the pot. I used the old stainless steel pot I got when I first moved out of my parents', 15 years ago. I really need to invest in good quality Creusets or Staubbs...

February 08, 2006 9:14 a.m.  

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