Last Spring my daughter, son-in-law, son and I spent a week together in Paris. We had a grand time and came home with memories that will be enjoyed the rest of our lives. We did our share of shopping, eating, and walking until I thought my legs would give out. But every day was an adventure filled with wonderful sights, sounds, and tastes. My daughter was here last week and I planned a little dinner so we could reminisce about our trip and open the very special bottle of wine I brought home with me from France. I wanted to serve beef and had recently tried a fantastic recipe I found at A FEAST FOR THE EYES for short ribs cooked in red wine and served with polenta. The first time I made Debby’s recipe I used short ribs…so delicious…but this time I used prime top sirloin I purchased at Costco. Also excellent… and it didn’t require as long a cooking time. Either way, it was heavenly. I served this stew with creamy, cheesy polenta that I will share the recipe for in the near future. Below is the recipe using short ribs and if you go to Debby’s blog you will find a wonderful tutorial on how to make this dish. I promise…you will love it!
Before my daughter and I met the guys in Paris we took a river cruise in Southern France from Avignon to Chalone sur Saone and had the opportunity to visit Chateauneuf du Pape, one of the world’s great wine regions.
We agreed that this was the best wine we had ever tasted. Oh…I could get used to this so easily and was sorry that I hadn’t brought a second bottle home.
During the 14th Century Avignon was home to several Popes who resided in the Papal Palace,
one of the largest Gothic buildings in Europe. Built in 1335, it is equivalent in size to four Gothic cathedrals. UNESCO has given this structure World Heritage Status to ensure that it is preserved and remains pristine.
The Popes were great wine lovers and vineyards were planted in the surrounding countryside. To improve and control the quality of the wine the Appellation Controlee was created in 1923 to regulate its production. Under the A.O.C. eighteen varieties of grapes can be grown in Chateauneuf de Pape (“new castle of the Pope”). Rules define the area and management of the vineyards, harvest dates and yields, minimum alcohol levels and vintage labeling. There is no irrigation in the vineyards so rocks cover the soil to keep in as much moisture as possible. They also absorb heat during the day and distribute it to the vines at night. The dry environment encourages the vines to struggle, which yields smaller clusters of grapes that create beautiful, opulent and expressive wines that are the signature of this region. All of these strict controls result in a highly refined and superb wine known for its finesse and nose.
We took an afternoon excursion to Maison Bouachon where we had the opportunity to taste a number of the Chateauneuf du Pape wines. What a treat that was. I selected my favorite to bring home for a special occasion. I loved its exuberance, richness and earthy minerality, its aromatic notes of spice and blackberry and its great acidity that made it go so well with the dinner I prepared.
We ended our dinner with my mom’s CHOCOLATE BAVARIAN CREAM topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.We had such fun reminiscing about our trip and all the wonderful experiences we shared. Our toast included the wish that we all make it back to Paris very soon.
This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm
- 4 pounds short ribs
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small onions, peeled, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced thinly
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 1½ cups red wine, pinot noir
- 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Heat olive oil in 5-quart sauté or casserole pan over high heat.
- Lay the short ribs out on a clean work surface and season all sides with salt and pepper.
- When oil is almost smoking, add ribs and let sear on high heat, 5 minutes per side or until well browned. Use tongs to rotate the ribs.
- Once browned on all sides, remove ribs with tongs and place on a baking tray.
- Add onions, carrots, celery, ginger, and garlic to the same pan.
- Smash the lemongrass stalk with the back of knife, slice, and add to pan. Sauté vegetables for 2 minutes, or until softened.
- Over high heat, add red wine and scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon as wine comes to a boil.
- Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, brown sugar, parsley, beef stock and sage leaves to pan and bring to a simmer. Add ribs back into pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Place casserole in pre-heated oven for 1.5 hours. Remove cover and continue cooking for an additional 1 hour.
- When rib meat is very tender, remove ribs from oven, using tongs to place on baking tray. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a saucepan, removing all of the vegetables. Over medium low heat, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes until darker in color and thicker. Add the ribs to reheat.
- Serve beef with sauce over polenta or other side dish of your choice.