So I made a promise in my FOOD FRIDAY article that I would share some of my savory chocolate recipes with you. Well, I keep my promises. As a disclaimer, I have to admit I’m not giving you my exact recipes because some secrets need to remain just that… a secret. But I guarantee these recipes of mine will turn your braised short ribs and beef stew into something you’ll want at every Sunday dinner!
Braised Short Ribs
6 beef short ribs (bone-in)
2 large onions, chopped
2 large shallots, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
3 heads of garlic, cut in half (skins and all)
2 bottles Cotes du Rhone red wine
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup light brown sugar
2 sprigs rosemary
4 springs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cinnamon stick
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Peel, chop and prepare the onions, shallots, carrots, celery and garlic.
Season your short ribs with kosher salt and let rest for 15 minutes. In the meantime, tie together the sprigs of rosemary and thyme with kitchen string.
In a 7-9 quart Dutch oven pot, add the canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan and set on high heat. Brown the short ribs on each side (2-3 minutes per side) in batches and then set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and then add the vegetables, peppercorns and the rosemary/thyme bundle. Scrape up the brown bits while the vegetables are cooking for 6-8 minutes. Once the vegetables start to caramelize, add the short ribs back into the pot and pour in the 2 bottles of wine. If the wine doesn’t cover the meat, add water until everything is covered.
Here’s where you stir in the cocoa powder, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and then put in the oven for roughly 3 hours. You want the meat to be tender, but not so tender it cooks itself off the bone. I would check the short ribs after 2½ hours to prevent over cooking.
Once done, remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Strain the braising liquid and retain 1-2 cups of it. The rest can be discarded. Add the strained braising liquid to a sauté pan and reduce by half over medium heat.
This dish is best served with garlicky smashed potatoes and roasted brussell sprouts. Drizzle the reduced braising liquid over everything and eat up!!
2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces**
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 yellow onions, diced
½ pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate, finely grated
5 springs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1 ½ tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
fresh ground pepper
1 quart beef stock
1½ cups Cotes du Rhone wine
1 tablespoon cognac
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 pound red potatoes, quartered
** I highly suggest buying a 2-pound chuck roast and cutting it up at home. Do yourselves a favor and avoid pre-cut “stew meat” you find sitting on Styrofoam and wrapped in plastic at your grocery store. Go to your butcher and buy fresh. You’ll thank me later.
After cutting your roast into 1-inch pieces, season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss the meat in flour and coat evenly.
In a separate sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter and cook the mushrooms for 4-5 minutes. Do not cook the mushrooms completely. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a 7-quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, add the canola oil. Once the oil ripples, shake off the excess flour from the stew meat and add to the pot, in batches if necessary. Brown the meat on all sides for 5-6 minutes. Once browned, remove the meat and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, the onions, carrots, celery, thyme and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Once the vegetables start to brown, add the tomato paste and cognac. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the great brown bits, then add the mushrooms. Pour in the beef stock, wine and finely grated bittersweet chocolate. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
Raise the heat to bring the stew to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 50-55 minutes.
After 50-55 minutes, add the quartered potatoes and continue to simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve.
These dishes are great for a slow-cooking Sunday afternoon. I hope you enjoy them!!!