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Bistrot Cooking

What to do when you're missing a place? Well, ya go there! But if you don't have the time or money, you can always try to replicate some of the experience by listening to certain music, recreating a particular decor, and of course, cooking a specific meal.

This one is all Classic French: A big hunk of meat braised in a rich dark sauce, served with über-buttery puréed potatoes and lots of crusty baguette (although, in Paris I probably would've used the readily available beef cheeks in place of the short ribs used here, but both are great pieces of meat.) But the feeling remains the same, and I am transported to some classic bistrot in the 11th arrondissement. Here's your ticket:

1Kg Boneless beef short ribs, portioned

2T Oil

60g Butter, divided

1 Onion, diced

1 Carrot, diced

6 Garlic cloves, left whole

6 Button mushrooms, quartered

Parsley Stems

2T Flour

25ml Cognac or Armagnac

1L Beef Stock

10 Juniper berries

Salt and Pepper

1T Sugar

In a large casserole heat the oil and 20g butter on medium heat. Add the short rib pieces and color on all sides. Remove the short ribs and degrease the pan, leaving any brown bits that are stuck.

Next, add another 20g of Butter to the pan along with the onion, carrot, garlic, mushrooms, and parsley stems. Deeply caramelize the vegetables and then add in the flour and stir to coat. Allow to cook one minute before deglazing with the cognac. Then add the beef stock, scraping up any caramelization stuck to the pan. Add back the short ribs, along with the juniper berries and some salt and pepper, carful not to over salt, as the liquid will reduce. Make sure to skim any fat and scum that rises to the top, and add water if needed so the sauce won't become too thick.

Cook roughly 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender but is not falling apart. Remove the short ribs and place into a clean casserole. Strain the sauce over the short ribs and adjust the seasoning. The sugar can be added to taste to balance any bitterness from the deep caramelization. Finally, finish the sauce with the remaining 20g of butter and swirl in to make the sauce rich and glossy. Serve with pureed potatoes, and in this case, glazed cipollini onions, and big glasses of red wine.

And what to serve for dessert? Well, I made a Tarte au Citron, or Lemon Tart. After a rich meal like the short ribs, this bright and tangy tart almost acts as a palate cleanser.



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