Thanksgiving #3, with Ad Hoc

20111212-095352.jpgI really like cooking for people. Do you? I think it’s really fun to make a huge meal and have everything done at just the right time and sit down and eat with people you love.

I especially like the part when everyone gets quiet. You know, when they’re all eating happily and no one wants to talk because at that point the food is more important. I like that part. It means I did a good job.

20111212-095513.jpgI made this meal for my family the weekend after thanksgiving. I decided to tackle a few recipes from Ad Hoc. I think it went pretty well. The beef short ribs I made are probably one of the most delicious renditions of beef I have made. And the possibilities for the leftover beef are endless.

20111212-095653.jpgI started off the meal with a caramelized onion and mushroom squash bruschetta. It was probably one of the most delicious starters I’ve ever made. Simple, pretty and irresistible.

20111212-095839.jpgI served wedge salads because I like the way the look. They’re a bit too much salad for me, however. Maybe if I was only eating a salad, but there was beef and side dishes to be had.

I served the beef with a creamed spinach and a chive and bacon mashed potato. It was a robust hearty meal, the kind best served with falling snow and no intentions of leaving the house.

20111212-095958.jpgOf course this being my house, I made dessert as well. I made soft gingersnaps and sandwiched a helping of homemade pumpkin ice cream in the center. The combination was insane. It was a simple dessert whose flavor brought up the level of elegance to something far above your typical ice cream sandwich. Here’s. The recipe I used for the cookies and for the ice cream.

Thomas Keller’s Beef Short Ribs

Red Wine Reduction

Ingredients

1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup 1/2 inch diced yellow onion
1 cup 1/2 inch thick slices peed carrots
1 cup 1/2 inch thick slices white and light green parts leeks
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
3 thyme sprigs
6 flat leaf parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 large garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on

Braise

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck short rib
salt and pepper
flour
canola oil
1 cup 1/2 inch diced yellow onion
2/3 cup 1/2 inch thick slices peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups 1/2 inch thick slices white and light green parts leeks
2 garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
about 5 cups beef stock

1. Combine all the ingredients for the red wine reduction in a large heavy ovenproof pot that will hold the meat comfortably. Bring to a simmer over high heat and reduce the heat to maintain the simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, until the wine has reduced to a glaze.

2. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper, coat in flour, patting off any excess. Heat canola oil in a large saute pan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the meat, reduce the heat and brown the meat for 3 minutes. Turn the meat and brown the other side. Remove meat from pan.

3. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

4. Add the onion, leeks, garlic, thyme and bay leaves to the wine reduction and toss. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 4 inches larger than the diameter of the pot. Place it over the vegetables and put the meat on the cheesecloth and fold over the edges to form a “nest” (Um yea, I totally did not do that). Add the stock, it should come to just the top of the meat.

5. Cut a parchment paper lid and place it over the meat.

6. Put the pot in the oven and reduce the heat to 325˚F. Braise the beef for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until tender.

7. Transfer the meat to a heatproof container. Strain the braising liquid and pour over the meat. Keller has a much more complicated method for this. It’s not necessary for doing this recipe at home. You can keep the meat in the refrigerated in the liquid for up to three days, I froze mine for a later use.

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