We’re halfway into April now, running about 10 degrees colder than average and still feeling the bite of, what has been for me at least, a long winter. So I figure: screw it! Let’s spoil ourselves, Let’s force the spring upon us. So join me and bust out the last of the dried morels you may still have squirreled away from last year and we’ll make something decadent. I promise this meal will both fortify yourself against these last few tendrils of winter and remind you of the excitement to come in just a few short (or long!) weeks.
4 medium sized beef short ribs, about 2.5 lbs
8 oz. of dried morels (if you only have fresh morels see note at bottom)
2 c of morel mushroom liquor/mushroom stock (beef stock can work too)
2 c of dry red wine
3 or 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
3 yellow onions, cut in thin wedges with tough outer layers removed
2-3 tbsp butter
A couple sprigs of fresh thyme
2 c milk
1 c grits
4 oz chevre
1 c chopped italian parsley
Zest of one lemon
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper beef short ribs night before and wrap well in plastic wrap or butcher paper.
Heat large cast iron pan with 1 tbsp butter on medium. Onec butter is melted, add all the onions and cook until the begin to turn translucent. Turn heat down to low, add garlic and tsp of salt, and continue to heat and stir. Add additional butter as needed to prevent sticking and wait until onions begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Layer on bottom of casserole dish or dutch oven–whatever works best with holding the short ribs properly. While onions are cooking, preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unwrap the short ribs and brown in cast iron. Once browned, nestle ribs into the carmelized onions. Scatter dried morels and thyme throughout the dish. Sprinkle with additional tsp of salt. Pour stock and red wine over the dish. If necessary, add additional liquid to ensure ribs are fully submerged. Place dish covered into oven. Bake for 3 hours.
Once ribs are braising, begin work on the polenta. Add 2 c milk, 1 c water and 1 c grits to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Once to a boil, turn heat to low and stir until mixture thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes. Once the grits have the consistency of a thick cream of wheat, pour into an 8x8 dish and place in refrigerator to cool.
Once polenta is cool and short ribs are close to done, about 15 minutes out, pull polenta out of the cooler and cut into 4 squares. Heat cast iron with high heat oil and sear polenta square on each side.
Place polenta square into pasta bowl, smother with onions, morels and broth. Place beef short rib beside polenta. Sprinkle with lemon zest, sea salt, chopped parsley and red pepper flakes.
This meal is very rich and perfect for sticking to your bones on a chilly spring day (or stormy summer night, brisk fall evening, or anytime in the winter!). Enjoy with a Pinot Noir or Nebiollo. #beefshortrib #morels #foragedfoods
*Note: If you have no dried morels, saute fresh morels in butter and garlic and serve over prepared beef short ribs