By Elizabeth Gunnison
To Mario Batali's ever-expanding culinary empire - Iron Chef America, Eataly, The Chew - add one more project: cookbook numero dieci. Yes, the Orange One's tenth book hits shelves on Tuesday. Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours is divided into twelve chapters, each dealing with a different month of the year and incorporating seasonal ingredients and techniques. We went ahead and selected what is undoubtedly the most manly recipe of the whole book: October's Beef Short Ribs Braised in Chestnut Beer, reprinted below.
Braising, for the uninitiated, is the best cooking technique that you never really use. It combines liquid, low heat, and long cooking times to create fall-off-the-bone tender meat. When beer is involved, well, all the better.
"Braises are easy to do right and also have a great ability to sit and rest if guests' eating time needs to be flexible," says Batali. "You can braise meats days in advance of a party or dinner. And braised meats are juicy, tender, and moist. You can't really mess it up. Seriously."
When giving short ribs the low and slow treatment, Batali strongly recommends making your own chicken stock from scratch. If you can't manage it, though, he suggests picking up store-bought beef stock instead.
What to drink with dinner? More of whatever beer you used in the recipe is not only the easiest solution, but also the best. If you're more of a wine drinker, Batali recommends a Friulano or Tocai Plus to balance out the "rich, fatty deliciousness" of the dish.
Beef Short Ribs Braised in Chestnut Beer
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 5 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into eight to ten 2-by-4-inch pieces
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ½ cup chestnut flour
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch dice
• 3 Spanish onions, chopped into ½-inch dice
• 12 garlic cloves
• Two 12-ounce bottles chestnut beer (or use any Dogfish Head beer)
• 2 cups basic tomato sauce (for quick results, try my Mario Batali pasta sauces by Gia Russa)
• 2 cups Brown Chicken Stock
• 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs and
• 1 bunch fresh rosemary sprigs, tied together with kitchen twine
• Leaves from 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
• Zest of 2 lemons, removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into julienne strips
• 4 ounces fresh horseradish, grated
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Season the short ribs aggressively with kosher salt and pepper, and dredge them in the chestnut flour, shaking off the excess. Place them, 5 at a time, in the hot oil and sear until deep brown on all sides, about 15 minutes per batch. Transfer the short ribs to a plate and set aside.
Add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic to the skillet and cook over high heat until browned and softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and stir in the chestnut beer, tomato sauce, chicken stock, and herb bundle. Scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits, and bring the mixture to a boil. Return the short ribs to the skillet, cover, and place it in the oven. Cook for 2 hours.
Uncover the skillet and continue to cook for 30 minutes, or until the meat is fork-tender. Remove from the oven and use a ladle or a kitchen spoon to skim the fat from the braising liquid.
To make the gremolata, combine the parsley, lemon zest, and horseradish in a small bowl, and toss loosely by hand.
To serve, place the skillet on a cutting board or trivet on the table, and serve the gremolata on the side.
Recipe Courtesy of Molto Batali (Ecco, 2011)TOP CHEF ADVICE: How to Cook Everything a Little Better
MORE FROM ESQUIRE:
- The Hottest Women in the World!
- A Man's Guide to Taking Care of Himself
The Ultimate Regional Style Guide
How to Be a Better Parent - and Child
- The Best Beach Reads of All Time
10 Ways to Heat Up Your Love Life
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.