Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/Hanukah/holiday celebration!
People often comment about how lucky my family is, are, whatever. Ahem. Well. This story illustrates how you can’t be a celeb in your own kitchen. The week after I made this dish for Recipe Club, I made it for my family. The dialogue went something like this:
Me: “What do you think??”
Family: “Tastes like roast beef and mashed potatoes.”
Me: “THIS WAS THE BON APPETIT DISH OF THE YEAR.”
Family: blank stare
Short Ribs Provencale with Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes
2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil
6 pounds meaty beef short ribs
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence*
2 cups red Zinfandel ( I used red or burgundy cooking wine, sold in the grocery near the vinegars and reduced the amount to 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups canned beef broth
14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, or 2 cups fresh tomatoes with
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup water
24 baby carrots, peeled
1/2 cup Niçois olives,** pitted, optional
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add ribs to pot and brown well, turning often, about 8 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer ribs to large bowl.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot or add oil as necessary to measure 2 tablespoons. Add onion, chopped carrot, and celery and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, flour, and herbes de Provence; stir 1 minute. Add wine and 2 cups broth; bring to boil over high heat, scraping up browned bits. Add tomatoes with juices and bay leaf. Return ribs and any accumulated juices to pot. Add carrots. If necessary, add enough water to pot to barely cover ribs and vegetables. Bring to boil.
Cover pot tightly and transfer to oven. Bake until ribs are very tender, about 2 hours 15 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
Add remaining 1/2 cup broth, and Niçois olives (if using) to pot. Cover, return to oven and continue cooking at 350°F about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer short ribs and vegetables to platter. Tent with foil to keep warm. If necessary, boil sauce to thicken slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over short ribs. Sprinkle with parsley.
* A dried herb mixture available at specialty foods stores and in the spice section of some markets. A mix of dried thyme, basil, savory, and fennel seeds can be substituted.
** Small brine-cured black olives; available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets.
CREME FRAICHE MASHED POTATOES
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, quartered
2/3 cup creme fraische or sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pot. Add crème fraîche and butter; mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Potatoes can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat, stirring frequently.)