Mike looked so pathetic yesterday watching me braise short ribs for our sandwich show this morning (quote: “what lucky bastard is getting to eat that?”), that I had to keep one rib behind so that we could try it for ourselves. (No, this was not an entirely selfless act. I was dying to try it myself and knew there would not be a scrap left over in the newsroom this morning. Release the hounds, as they say.)
You may recall this recipe from Oprah this past spring; during one episode Gayle drove across the country to have one, and declared it well worth it. I would concur; fortunately there’s no need for a cross-country drive. This is what I always imagine a Philly cheesesteak would taste like, but in my experience never does; not that I am learned in the ways of the cheesesteak, or have frequented Philly cheesesteak joints in my lifetime. I’m sure the closest I’ve come is something along the line of a beef dip at Moxies.
Besides the fact that you have to braise the short ribs in order to make this, it’s dead easy. Brown the ribs, put them in a baking dish over some veg and add a cup or so of wine and/or stock, cover and cook for 4 hours or until you can coax it apart with a fork. Then add it to a grilled cheese sandwich, preferably made on sourdough or grainy bread with fontina, Gouda, Edam or provolone.
How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Grilled Cheese with Pulled Braised Short Ribs
adapted from Small Bites, Big Nights by Govind Armstrong
canola oil, for cooking
2 lb. beef short ribs
salt & pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1 small rib celery, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup red wine
beef or chicken stock (or more wine)
fontina or Gouda cheese, grated or thinly sliced
pickled onions (optional)
Preheat oven to 300F.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet or pot set over medium-high heat and brown the ribs on all sides; set aside. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for a few minutes, until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. If the skillet can be covered and go in the oven, return the ribs to it and pour the wine overtop, otherwise transfer the vegetables to a baking dish and lay the ribs on top, then pour the wine into the pan to get up any browned bits and then pour over the ribs and vegetables. If it needs it, add enough stock or wine to come halfway up the meat. Cover and put in the oven for 4 hours, flipping the ribs once in awhile.
Take them out of the oven and let them cool in their liquid, pull the ribs out onto a plate and shred the meat with two forks, discarding any pieces of fat you come across. Make sandwiches on buttered sourdough (buttered side out!) with pulled meat and cheese (the original recipe calls for a bit of pickled onion as well), and cook in a skillet (as you would any grilled cheese sandwich), turning as necessary until the cheese melts and the bread is golden and crispy. Serve immediately.
(You can watch a video of Govind making it here.)