Braised Beef Short Ribs with Garlic Smashed Reds and Mushroom Demi

Pastured beef short ribs are seared until well browned, then braised in burgundy with celery, onions, carrots, garlic, green peppercorns, fresh thyme and rosemary.  Once tender, the ribs are allowed to stand until firm, then seared a second time with fresh crimini mushrooms.

Meanwhile, the braising liquid is furiously reduced, strained and finished with cold butter and demi-glace.  Served atop smashed red potatoes flecked with roasted garlic and minced chives..

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Garlic Smashed Reds and Mushroom Demi


Quick Demi-Glace, Home Version (adapted from Saveur Magazine)

1/4 lb. uncured bacon, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sprouted wheat flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-1/2 quarts homemade beef stock, divided
1/4 cup good red wine (not cooking wine)
10 sprigs fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 leaves fresh sage
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Render bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Add onions and carrots and cook until somewhat softened, about 8 minutes.  Use a sifter to sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook another 10 minutes. Add wine, herbs and 8 cups of stock and simmer uncovered until reduced in volume by three-quarters, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Strain sauce, discarding solids. Return to pan with remaining stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 hours.  Demi-glace may be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to three months.

Phở bò tái

Originating in northern Vietnam, Phở (Pho, pronounced fuuh) is a Chinese and French-influenced soup of carefully-crafted beef stock flavored with roasted ginger, star anise, coriander and cinnamon.  It is typically served with rice noodles, thinly-sliced beef, lime and fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil and mint.

I followed Steamy Kitchen’s recipe, and thoroughly enjoyed the results..

Phở (Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Soup)

Asian Beef Noodle Soup

A little bit like ramen and a little bit like Phở, this healthy, nourishing soup is made from homemade beef stock, shiitake mushrooms, buckwheat soba, fresh scallions, grass-fed beef, herbs and whole spices..

Preparing Asian Beef Noodle Soup

Preparing Asian Beef Noodle Soup

Serves 2

(adapted from a recipe by Jennifer Iserloh)

4 shiitake mushroom caps
4 oz grass-fed beef  (I’m using a small muscle cut from a chuck roast)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled & minced
1 finely minced hot chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon star anise
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Szechuan pepper
1/2 package organic buckwheat soba
1 cup beef stock
2 cups seasonal herbs and greens (I have pea shoots, cress, cilantro and basil), coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon traditional fermented shoyu

Set the trimmed beef in the freezer to firm up so that it is easier to slice.

Grind the anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and Szechuan pepper together in a spice grinder (you’ve just made Chinese Five Spice).

Pre-heat a heavy skillet over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Add the butter, then quickly sauté the mushrooms, ginger, chiles and garlic until fragrant.  Sprinkle a little of the 5 spice over the top and stir to combine.  Unused 5 spice will keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Add the broth, noodles and shoyu. Cover and cook until the noodles are tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the beef across the grain as thinly as you possibly can.  As soon as the noodles are tender, drop the meat into the boiling broth and give it a swirl.  Add the fresh herbs, greens and scallions and heat until wilted, about 1 minute.  Serve immediately.

This post is part of The Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday!

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Numbles, Umbles, Humble Pie

Originally a pie made of numbles, or umbles—i.e. the liver, kidneys, etc., of a deer, humble pie was made to be eaten by servants and huntsmen, while the lord of the manor and his guests dined on venison. “The keeper hath the skin, head, umbles, chine, and shoulders.”—Holinshed: Chrouicle, i. 204.

Samuel Pepys makes many references to such pies in his diary, writing on the 5th of July 1662 “I having some venison given me a day or two ago, and so I had a shoulder roasted, another baked, and the umbles baked in a pie, and all very well done”  and on the 8th of July the next year “Mrs Turner came in and did bring us an Umble-pie hot out of her oven, extraordinarily good.”

While this isn’t medieval Europe and I don’t have a freshly-killed deer on hand, I do have some very nice pastured beef liver and a fair selection of herbs and root vegetables..


Humble Pie

Minimally-processed whole foods, in a manner recognizable by our ancestors

For the pie dough (adapted from a recipe by Michael Ruhlman)

6 oz (by weight) sprouted whole wheat flour
4 oz (1 stick) pastured butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 oz filtered ice water
1 pinch sea salt

Combine the flour and butter in a glass bowl, rubbing the butter between your fingers until pea-sized.  Add the salt and ice water gradually and mix gently until just combined.  Don’t over-work the dough, or it will become tough.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the filling

Set 1 1/2 cups beef stock, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, 1 teaspoon coarse mustard and 2 oz red wine to simmer on the back burner.

Chop such root vegetables as you have available.  I’m using purple potatoes, leek, carrots, celery, garlic and a few just-dug field onions.

Mince fresh herbs such as thyme, sage, curly parsley and rosemary.

Dice a bit of pork belly or uncured bacon and put in a heavy skillet over medium heat and cook until browned.  Add the potatoes and brown quickly.

Add the carrots, leeks and celery and allow to brown.

Add the garlic, onions and herbs and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.

Cut partially-frozen beef liver into long strips, then cut the strips into bite-sized lengths.  Dredge lightly in sprouted wheat flour season with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Melt pastured butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until slightly browned.  Add the liver and sear quickly until browned but still rare on the inside.

Add the liver to the cooked vegetables and stir to combine.

Make a small amount roux from equal part sprouted wheat flour and butter, cooking out until the raw flour taste is gone (about 5 minutes of constant stirring).

Thicken the now-reduced beef stock by whisking in the roux.  Allow to simmer a minute, then pour over the liver and vegetables.  Stir to combine.

Roll out the pie dough until large enough to just fit inside the 1st skillet, then place it on top of the liver mixture and lightly press into place.

Brush the dough with a an egg beaten with a little water, then cut some vent holes to allow the steam to escape.

Place the pie in a 350 degree oven and bake until golden brown, maybe 30 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

“Samuel Pepys, FRS (pronounced /ˈpiːps/ “peeps”; 23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament, who is now most famous for his diary. Although Pepys had no maritime experience, he rose by patronage, hard work and his talent for administration, to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and subsequently King James II. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalization of the Royal Navy.

The detailed private diary he kept during 1660–1669 was first published in the nineteenth century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London.” –Wikipedia

This post is part of the Clean Your Plate August: Liver! Recipe Challenge
at The Nourished Kitchen

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Beef Stock

No sodium, hydrolyzed yeast extract, butylated hydroxyanisole, sugar or artificial anything here.

Nothing you can buy in the store costs less or tastes anywhere near as good as homemade beef stock.  It could not be any easier.

Roast meaty beef bones at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turning once.  Add about 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and coarsely chopped celery, onions, carrots and garlic to the pan and roast another 30 minutes.

Transfer the browned bones to a Dutch oven, cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Skim off the foam then transfer the vegetables to the pot with the bones. Discard the rendered fat or set aside for another purpose if that’s your want- just don’t let it near the stock pot.

Deglaze the roasting pan with red wine, scraping up all the brown bits.  Add this to the pot with parsley, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf and a couple of whole cloves.

Reduce heat and simmer slowly for 4 or 5 hours, occasionally skimming away any accumulated foam.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and allow to cool completely.  Refrigerate and use within 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.