Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Short Ribs and Fatback
I admit it, I am a lousy photographer. You won't even know what that image on the right is until I tell you, but it was so frigging delicious I had to photograph the dish.
I am very fortunate that I have a lot of good friends. One who appears out of nowhere whenever I think of him. He lives in LA and has a house in the UK but appears in NY anytime I need a friend. Either we have a psychic connection or my phone is bugged.
M called me the evening before he was due to arrive and wanted to make sure I had no plans for dinner. I said I was free, let's go somewhere and started to suggest restaurants. His response; I'm good with potluck, let's just hang out at your place and I'll have whatever you are having. I told him he would get a pasta, that I had a full day and no time to shop.
One of the great benefits of living in NY is that you can get pretty much anything DELIVERED. The following morning at 9 a.m. my doorbell rang and there was a delivery man with a bag of gorgeous short ribs, a bottle of wine and a box of seriously dark chocolate.
Clearly I was meant to cook and M wanted dinner, not pasta.
I tend to avoid short ribs in the summer, though I love them, they are a slow cook and all day affair. Due to the wonderful convenience of the crock pot I went for it.
6 gorgeous short ribs
1 large onion chopped
5 cloves garlic chopped
2 ripe Roma tomatoes chopped
1 cup Rose wine (okay you can use any wine, but I had Rose open)
1 cup Stock (whatever you have in the freezer)
1 cup white beans
1/2 pound fatback or slab bacon in chunks
Brown your onion til caramelized then add the garlic til soft. Dump in the crock. Salt and pepper your ribs and brown them in the same pan. Toss in the fatback and saute til golden. Dump it all in the crock and de-glaze your pan with the wine. Dump it in along with the stock, the beans, the tomatoes. Stir, turn on high and cover.
Go take a shower, have breakfast, make some more coffee...whatever you do in the morning.
After about an hour reduce the crock to low.
Go away, come back 5 to 10 hours later. Your house will smell amazing.
Remove everything from the pan with a slotted spoon and turn the crock to high again to reduce the sauce.
Separate your elements. Put the beans in a bowl, the fatback on one plate the ribs on another. Once the sauce has reduce a bit dump the ribs back in and turn to low.
Take your fatback and put skin side down in a cold nonstick pan and turn to medium. Wait for it to sizzle and brown. Get your hand blender out and puree the beans. Turn your fatback over and crisp and brown the other side. When crisp move to a plate and re-heat your bean puree. Put a little bean puree on the plate, layer the bits of crisp fatback and drizzle a touch of balsamic over the whole thing.
Okay, I know the photo is awful, I reduced it to BW because I was hoping for artistic. I failed. Anyway, the taste of the fatback is like a foi gras. It loses a lot of it's salt and absorbs much of the meaty goodness of the ribs. With the creamy beans and the slight acidity of the vinegar it all melts in your mouth.
Trust me, this tastes way better than it looks. Forget calories, in fact don't even tell your guests what they are eating until they taste. They will be shocked that it is fatback.
Fix a nice green vegetable, you have just eaten a portion of fat, you need the fiber.
Put your tender gorgeous ribs on the plate with the crisp light vegetables and go for glutinous to virtuous. With enough wine you will forget the fact you have been eating creamy slices of fat.
I recommend a rich, dark, dense, expensive Malbec to have with this feast, but any red will do.
You COULD have it as one dish and throw away the fatback, but that would be wasting some pretty good fat in my opinion.