Friday, February 5, 2010

Short Rib Sandwiches

It’s Friday afternoon with the weekend in sight. This is the point in my week where I become absolutely useless. Because of this, I’m afraid I don’t have much to offer you except a recipe for Short Rib Sandwiches.

These short ribs worked double duty at my house this week. There was enough for a decadent dinner on Sunday night, and then they transformed themselves into easy yet delicious sandwiches for Monday night supper. Any recipe that can pull that off is a winner in my books.

Short ribs are perfect for a weekend meal as they take a little while to cook. They require very little prep, but need to simmer for several hours. I love setting something to cook on the stove, coming back a few hours later and having a delicious meal ready. It speaks to the lazy inside of me.

On Sunday I served the short ribs with polenta, caesar salad, and a glass of red wine. A perfect ending to the weekend if you ask me.
Then Monday night rolled around and I was able to whip together these sandwiches in no time. The short ribs by themselves are rich and delicious and perfect paired with something creamy such as mashed potatoes or polenta. Be aware they have been known to induce food comas so be prepared. It’s just another reason they’re perfect for a lazy Sunday.

The sandwiches are great as well. The pickled caramelized onions were a new twist that I loved. And how can you go wrong with gooey cheese and crusty bread? If you’re trying to save even more time on Monday night dinner preparation, the onions can be made the night before as well. Then all you got to do is assemble and toast the sandwiches!

Ok, so for the short ribs. Start by seasoning the ribs with salt and pepper.
Make sure you sprinkle salt all over your counter as well. There. That’s perfect.

You’ll then brown the meat on all sides in a large pot with some oil. When you’re done they’ll look something like this.
Mmmm, meat pile.

Next you’ll sauté carrots, onion and celery in the same pot with all those yummy beef drippings.
And then add in some wine, broth and other seasonings.
Oh yeah, make sure you also sprinkle salt on your stovetop. Man, I really spill that everywhere...

Add the meat back in the pot and simmer for about 3 hours, turning the meat once halfway through.

Now you’ve got delicious short ribs! When you’re ready to make sandwiches, shred the meat off the bone. You’ll get a nice delicious pile ‘o’ meat like this.

To make the pickled caramelized onions, chop up two red onions.
Saute them in a pan with some butter for about ten minutes. Then add some red wine vinegar and voila! Delicious twist on the classic caramelized onion.
Layer some crusty French bread with Monterey jack cheese, meat, onions and arugula. Make sure to butter the bread on both sides for a nice golden crust. Toast the sandwiches on both sides in a pan until they are golden brown.

Enjoy your hardworking short ribs!

Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwiches with Pickled Caramelized Onions and Arugula
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Short ribs:
5 pounds beef short ribs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup low-salt beef broth
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 large fresh thyme sprig, or fresh rosemary

Pickled caramelized onions:
1 tablespoon butter
2 large red onions, halved, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)
4 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Assembly:
Butter, room temperature
16 slices country-style crusty white bread
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
4 cups baby arugula

For short ribs:
Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook beef until browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Add celery, carrots, and onion to pot and sauté until beginning to soften and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add wine, broth, Sherry, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprig; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Season with salt and pepper. Return ribs to pot, propping up on sides and arranging in single layer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour.

Using tongs, turn ribs over in pot. Cover and simmer until ribs are tender and sauce is very thick, occasionally rearranging ribs in pot to prevent sticking, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Uncover and cool 30 minutes. Transfer ribs to work surface. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprig. Spoon off fat from sauce in pot. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into 3/4 -to 1-inch pieces, trimming any fat. Return meat to pot. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm just until lukewarm before using.

Pickled caramelized onions:
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar and cook until almost all vinegar is absorbed, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl; cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Microwave in 15-second intervals until lukewarm before using.

For assembly:
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with waxed paper. Butter 8 bread slices; place 4 slices, buttered side down, on each prepared sheet. Divide short rib mixture among bread slices, about 1/2 cup for each. Divide cheese among sandwiches. Spoon about 1/4 cup onions over each sandwich. Place large handful of arugula atop onions. Top with remaining 8 bread slices. Spread bread with butter. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Heat griddle or 2 large skillets over medium heat. Working in batches, cook sandwiches until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface. Cut each in half on diagonal. Transfer to plates and serve.

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