RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
Fall has slowly been making her presence known, and my appetite for heart stick-to-your-ribs meals have not gone unnoticed.
As with a lot of classic European recipes utilizing wine (classic recipes incorporating mustard fall in the same category) these dishes came about from people using tougher cuts of meat that were basically rotting. Due to lack of money and no refrigeration “back in the day,” these people had to figure out ways to make meat more tender while masking the unsavory flavors. How did they do this? Cooking the meat low-and-slow and utilizing strong flavors such as wine, spices, and sometimes mustard. Refer to Coq Au Vin and mustard crusted rack of lamb.
Peposo is a delicious braised beef (traditionally using beef shank) that came about centuries ago in Italy from Italian tile workers. They would coat beef shank in lots of black pepper berries and braise them in the clay ovens, to bake their tiles, using red wine and fresh herbs. Fast forward to today and we’re using thick and meaty short ribs and our fancy dutch ovens… you can’t beat that!
Peposo refers back to using crushed whole black peppercorns. I know what you’re thinking “I don’t like that much pepper!” But listen… As the beef braises with the red wine and other flavorings, the heat from the black pepper backs off. What you’re left with is the mild black pepper berry flavor that is beautiful with the beef and herbs.
I love Peposo served with creamy polenta. Polenta is so easy to make, flavorful, and one of those dishes I think of when fall rolls around. Of course, you can serve your peposo with anything you and yours enjoy such as mashed potatoes or pasta, for today’s purposes we’ll be making polenta. I promise you will love it!
Peposo - Generally saves 6 unless you have hungry eaters
Olive Oil for sautéing
6 thick and meaty Beef Short Ribs (I have also used 4 to 6 ounce chunks of Chuck Roast)
In The Kitchen With Scotty “Roast Beast” Seasoning or Kosher Salt to taste
1/4 cup whole peeled fresh garlic cloves
1 heavy tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns freshly crushed
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 bulb fresh fennel, cored and diced (about 1 cup)
6-8 fresh sage leaves
4 sprigs fresh rosemary cut in half
2 large Bay leaves
3 cup dry Italian red wine (It can be any dry red… but since we’re doing Italian *shoulder shrug*)
1 cup dry corn polenta
4 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 teaspoon In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” or salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese freshly grated
Place the beef shorts in a bowl and toss liberally with the Roasted Beast Seasoning or Kosher salt. Smash and mince the garlic to a pulp. If you have a kitchen mortar and pestle this works wonders. If not, do what I did, and smash each clove of garlic and start missing over and over until you have a finely minced/pulp garlic.
Add the garlic pulp to a small dish along with the tomato paste and mix well. Spoon that mixture out onto the short ribs and with your clean hands coat the ribs with it all over. Be sure to massage into the layers without separating the meat from the bone.
Add the freshly crushed black peppercorns, and toss those with the short ribs. The garlic tomato mixture acts as a glue for the peppercorns.
In a dutch oven pan or deep sided cast iron pan that has a heavy lid, and a few “glugs” of olive oil and begin to heat. Add the diced onion and diced fennel and sauté gently until the onions are translucent and the fennel tender.
Arrange the coated short ribs on top of the sautéed onion and fennel mixture BONE SIDE DOWN. Tuck in the fresh sage, rosemary and bay leaf all over and where you can. Pour in the red wine and bring the pan to a boil. Sprinkle any excess crushed peppercorns, that didn’t make it to the ribs or pan, on top.
Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the pan. Gently braise on the stove top for three hours. After halfway through the cooking carefully (It’s hot, Donna!) remove the lid and turn the short ribs over. Place the lid back on and continue cooking until the meat is fork tender.
Once the meat is fork tender, turn off the heat and remove the lid. With tongs remove any twigs from the herbs that aren’t edible and the bay leaf (definitely not edible). You may also remove the ribs from the pan and strain the braising liquid. This will remove “the goods” discarding when finished. Then return the liquid to the pan to reduce to a sauce…. Or just reduce gently on the stove with the short ribs still in the pan, reducing the liquid to a sauce. It’s your call.
Serve by adding creamy polenta to your plate or a pasta bowl. Top with a portion of the beef short ribs and ladle on the reduced sauce generously. Fish by grating fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. DIG IN!!!
For The Creamy Polenta:
Bring 4 cups of unsalted chicken broth and the Cook’s Line Seasoning to a boil in a sauce pot with lid. While whisking briskly slowly add in the dry polenta. The whisking helps prevent against clumping. Reduce the heat to low.
With a wooden spoon give the polenta a good constant stir until it begins to thicken. Cover the pot and cook. After five minutes give the polenta a few more stories with the spoon. Keep covering, cooking, and stirring until your polenta is soft and creamy.
Once cooked add a tablespoon of butter and mix in, followed with 1/4 cups of fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix in, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.