Top Chef Canada season 3 competitor Nicole Gomes, of Calgary's Cluck N Cleaver, and shares her winter comfort recipe. Make sure to think about this dish two to three days in advance, as it takes some time to marinate, and after cooking it’s best enjoyed at least a day later.
4½ lb boneless beef short ribs or boneless chuck flats (my preference)
1 bottle Chianti or sangiovese-based wine
3 large carrots, cut into thirds
2 large yellow onions, cut into quarters
3 stalks celery, cut into thirds
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
2 whole bay leaves, dry or fresh
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups veal stock
Vegetable or canola oil, for cooking
Get your butcher to properly trim your beef, removing any silver skin and connective tissues. Cut into approximately 6-inch pieces.
In a large Dutch oven, heat about two tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions, celery and garlic cloves and sauté for about 8 minutes. Add bay leaf, peppercorns and fresh herbs, and sauté for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and add the wine.
Allow mixture to cool until barely warm, then add the raw beef short ribs, moving them around in the liquid and making sure they’re completely submerged in wine. (If not, open another bottle to top it up—and drink the rest!) Marinate in the fridge for at least 10 hours, and up to 24 hours.
To cook ribs, use a pair of tongs to remove the beef, allowing excess liquid to drain off, and transfer to a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Add veal stock to the wine mixture and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 200˚F. With your hood fan turned to high, set a large, heavy sauté pan over high heat and add about two tablespoons of oil. Once you see the first wisp of smoke from the pan, carefully place the seasoned beef in the hot pan, without crowding—you want to ensure you get a nice brown caramel colour on all sides. Leave the pieces alone—if you want to caramelize them properly and develop a nice crust, don’t move them around.
As each piece of beef is browned, add it to the pot of wine and veal stock. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil and cook for 12 to 14 hours. Turn heat to 375˚F and cook for another hour. The meat should be tender enough to almost fall apart when poked with a fork.
Let ribs and liquid cool, then remove meat, strain the liquid and place it back in its pot, discarding vegetables and herbs. Simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to half its volume, adding salt and a touch of honey if needed. Return ribs to the pot and refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to serve, reheat, covered, in a 350˚F oven for up to 30 minutes, or until heated through. Serves 6 to 8.
By Nicole Gomes, Janice Beaton and Simon Ogden
Photographs by Clinton Hussey
Props styling by Nicole Sjöstedt
Food styling by Murray Bancroft