After we got engaged, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I couldn’t decide what kind of wedding we wanted to have, or where we wanted to have it. Neither of us wanted to do the traditional church/reception thing, but we were having a hard time coming up with alternatives. One random day in July, I threw out the idea of renting a house on the beach and just doing something with our immediate families. My CCC loved the idea; within two days we had found a house, and then we called our parents, my sister and his brother and asked if they were free in three weeks. Three days later, we had an officiant and a photographer, and a week later I had a dress. Wedding planning was officially complete!
It was a perfect, relaxing week punctuated by some amazing meals at local restaurants. A couple of days into our week-long stay, we had dinner at a nearby resort and I chose their braised short ribs with smoked cheesy grits. I have literally day dreamed about that meal ever since… to say it was amazing is a gross understatement. It’s taken me seven months, but I’ve finally recreated it!
To recreate the meal, I seared short ribs and then marinated them overnight in a mixture of sautéed vegetables and red wine. The next day, I added chicken stock to the mixture and let it all simmer away in the slow cooker for a good eight or nine hours. I served it alongside some cheesy grits, which I made with a combination of smoked cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses, to do a total replication of the meal I had on vacation. I also put a loaf of homemade ciabatta on the table, for good measure, of course!
I was totally thrilled with how these short ribs turned out. By the time I pulled them out of the slow cooker, the meat was falling right off the bone. Amazing! That meal will always remind me of our wedding week, and now I can make it at home
Do you have a favorite restaurant meal that you’ve recreated at home?
Braised Short Ribs with Cheesy Grits
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 16 hours
Braised Short Ribs that have been marinated overnight in red wine and made in the slow cooker.
For the Short Ribs:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 pounds beef short ribs
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices
4 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch slices
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 thyme sprigs
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups dry red wine (example: cabernet sauvignon)
For the Cheesy Grits:
4 cups water
1 cup corn grits
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ounces smoked gouda cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Prepare the Short Ribs: Heat the vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Season the short ribs liberally with salt and pepper, then add half of the short ribs to the skillet until a brown crust forms on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the short ribs to a 9×13-inch baking dish and repeat with the remaining short ribs. All of the short ribs should now be in the baking dish in a single layer.
2. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the now-empty skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are very soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and thyme and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the hot mixture over the short ribs and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once.
3. The next morning, remove the short ribs from the marinade and place in a 6-quart slow cooker. Transfer the marinade to a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour over the short ribs, place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
4. Prepare the Grits: About 30 minutes before planning to eat, begin to prepare the grits. Bring the water to a boil, then slowly stir in grits. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and shredded cheeses until both are melted and incorporated into the grits. Season with salt and pepper.
(Recipe adapted from Food and Wine)