Braised Short Ribs on Garlic Mash with Green Beans and Roasted Tomatoes

December 27th, 2012

In my last post I included the above picture of dishes that I served over the holidays.  Number 1 is Braised Short Ribs on Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Green Beans and Roasted Tomatoes. If you want to impress your guests on New Year’s Eve, you won’t do better than this.  It is pretty to look at and the beef is so tender that all you need is a fork to enjoy it.  I have several boneless short ribs recipe in my repertoire,  but this one is so special that I will make it for birthday parties, Christmas dinners, New Year’s or any other special occasion for which I want to make people feel special.

The presentation is the key.  If you have a wide mouth white soup bowl it would be stunning.  But even served on my black and white dinner plates it looked festive.


The recipe came from Chuck Hughes on The Food Network.  I was intrigued by it because of the unusual ingredients including beets, cinnamon, cocoa powder and brown sugar.  The beets impart a dark color to the sauce and the flavorings give it a hint of sweetness.  I have changed the amount of brown sugar.  It called for 1 cup but that seemed excessive.


I can’t think of a better way to bring in the New Year.  Your friends and family will thank you.  Happy New Year everyone.



2 packages boneless short ribs (about 16 to 18 total) or 8 bone-in short ribs
3 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 beets, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 heads of garlic, cut in half
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
1 star anise (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
Coarse salt
1 cup flour
Canola oil
2 bottles red table wine
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
Handful peppercorns
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, carrots, beets and garlic.  Add the rosemary, thyme, star anise, and cinnamon stick, and set aside.

If using bone-in ribs, trim off the excess outer fat.  Season the ribs well with coarse salt.  Dredge in flour until well coated.

In a (very) large Dutch oven or wide soup pot on high heat, pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the ribs to the hot oil and sear the ribs so they are browned on all sides.  You will have to do this it batches for the boneless ribs.  Remove the ribs and set aside.

In the same pan, transfer all the vegetables from the bowl, and stir to caramelize and pick up all the brown bits.  Add the meat back into the pot.  Pour the wine over top.  Ensure all is covered with the liquid and if not, top up with water.

Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar and peppercorns, and bring to a boil, cover with a lid or foil, and place in the oven until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours.  Remove the ribs to a platter, and strain out the solids to use for something else.

Boil the cooking liquid in a wide shallow pan until it is reduced by half.  It will be richer, more flavorful and thicker.  Add a nub of butter at the end for sheen and flavor.

Serve the short ribs on a mound of Garlic Mashed Potatoes, topped with green beans and roasted cherry tomatoes.



1 heat garlic
1 tablespoon good, fruity olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A sprig or 2 of fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme)
6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, and quartered
1 stick butter
1 cup cream or half and half

Slice the top off a garlic head and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the fresh herbs.  Wrap in a tin foil packet, and roast in the oven for about 1 hour.

Fill a large saucepan with water; add a few good pinches of coarse salt and the potatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until just fork tender.  Do not over cook or the potatoes will be soggy.  Drain off the water, leaving the potatoes in the pot.

Add the butter and cream to the potatoes and mash well.

Remove the garlic from the oven.  Squeeze the garlic cloves into the potatoes, and stir in.  The consistency you want is rough, with some lumps.  Seaon the potatoes with salt, and pepper, if desired.



Stem the beans and place them in boiling water.  Cook until crisp tender.  Plunge the beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color.  Set aside until ready to assemble dish.  Just before serving time, heat a couple of tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.  Add beans and toss to coat.  Cook until just heated through.

Place a pint of cherry tomatoes on a small baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil, coarse salt and pepper.  Place in a 400 degree oven and cook just until skins begin to burst, about 10 minutes.

Printable recipe



A French Dinner with Friends

May 22nd, 2012

We were invited to dinner last Saturday night.  We are so lucky to have such good and supportive friends.  And to think that we met them because of our respective blogs.  The “Other Penny”, as we sometimes refer to each other, has a lifestyle blog that has detailed her many talents in whispering houses back to life.  She and her husband both know what a house needs to make it a comfortable home.  Her blog, The Comforts of Home, chronicles the projects and ideas that can improve any house.  But she is also a fantastic cook.  Penny is well aware of our upcoming trip to France (Probably because that is all I talk about).  Both she and her husband  have been to France and have shared many tips with us.  For our Bon Voyage dinner Penny made a French meal.

One of France’s national treasures is the Gourgere.  These small cheese puffs are made from pate a choux dough.  In its sweet version the dough is used in cream puffs stuffed with sweetened whipped cream.  But when you want a savory appetizer you add Gruyere cheese to the dough and allow them to bake, puff and form a hollow center.  They melt in your mouth.  They are made all over France, but the Burgundy region claims them as their own.  They are served in many restaurants there as an appetizer with the local aperitif.  We had them with a lovely white wine.  Here is the recipe from Barefoot in Paris.

Coq au Vin, the classic French chicken in red wine is one of the dishes that I have served many times.  But Penny’s version, made with white wine, is a perfect alternative.  The one thing that has always bothered my about the original recipe is the burgundy color that infuses the chicken.  It just doesn’t look natural.  White wine is a good thing for this dish.  Penny also uses boneless chicken thighs which cook faster and retain their juiciness.  Her rendition keeps the smoky bacon flavor, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the silkiness of the onions.  It is winey and earthy at the same time.  The mashed potatoes (David’s favorite) and the braised carrots are the perfect  finishing touches.   You can find her recipe here.

Dessert was a spectacular lemon meringue tart.  The recipe came from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris.  The mood has been set and we are ready for our trip.  Thanks for a great meal Penny.

Dinner with Old Friends

April 29th, 2012

I am always on the lookout for unusual appetizers when we have company.  I like the idea of a savory cheesecake.  I also like the idea of an appetizer-size cheesecake.  Giada De Laurentiis provided just the thing.  My blogging friend “the other” Penny of The Comforts of Home and her husband came for dinner last night.  I wanted to try something a little more complicated than cheese and crackers.

The hardest part of this cheesecake was finding a 4 1/2-inch spring form pan.  I did find one at a kitchen store for $3.99 but did not measure it until I got home.  It turned out to be 4 inches and did not hold all of the ingredients in the recipe.  The cheesecake can also be made in a ramekin if you don’t want to bother with finding a small spring form pan.  I put the overflow in a small ramekin.  It is a mixture of ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese to which roasted red peppers are added.  The cheese cake is then baked.  The recommended topping is apricot jam, but I used a pepper and onion relish.

The weather was beautiful on Saturday so we were able to eat dinner on the porch.  There is something so special about dining al fresco with friends.

The menu was Zinfandel Beef Ribs, Rice Pilaf with roasted almonds and orange soaked dried cranberries, Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan, and homemade yeast rolls.

Dessert was Apple Crostata  with ice cream and coffee.  But the best part of the meal was the company,   the conversation, and the laughter.  A beautiful Spring evening on the porch was the icing on the cake.  Thanks Penny and K for traveling over the mountain to spend time with us.  Good friends just make the food taste better.



1/2 cup ricotta cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup goat cheese (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup thin strips or roasted red bell peppers (blotted dry)
1/4 cup apricot jam (Can substitute hot pepper jelly, other jams or onion, pepper relish)
1 to 2 teaspoons hot water

Special equipment:  1 (4 1/2-inch diameter spring form (cheesecake) pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wrap the outside of the cheesecake pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil.  Place the ricotta, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor.  Pulse to mix.  Add the sugar, egg, and salt and pulse a few times until well mixed.  Stir in the red pepper strips.

Pour the cheese mixture into the cheesecake pan.  Place the cheesecake pan in a small roasting pan.  Pour enough hot water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.  Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken. about 45 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.  Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold.

Combine the jam and the water in a small bowl and stir until the jam is liquefied.  Remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan.  Place on a serving plate.  Drizzle the jam mixture over the top of the cheesecake.  Serve with pita chips or crackers.

Printable recipe  

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.