British Columbian’s have an insatiable thirst for craft beer! This fall recipe was inspired by the gorgeous seasonal beer that come from one of our local microbreweries just around the corner from Culinary Capers Catering – Granville Island Brewing. Their Lions Winter Ale is a complex, aromatic and robust ale that makes you think of spice and caramel. When we started to work on the recipe development, we thought right away about our spice rubs. They are a great way to enrich food with a lot of complexity in a quick pinch. The piri piri rub is originally from South Africa. It is an extremely versatile rub that we developed for chicken kebabs, but goes well with lamb, beef, pork and even fish or prawns.
1 kilogram boneless beef short ribs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock or water
2 cups Lions Winter Ale, or your favourite medium dark beer
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup carrots, 1/4″ dice
1/2 cup onion, 1/4″ dice
1/2 cup fennel, 1/4″ dice
1/3 cup celery, 1/4″ dice
1/2 cup leeks, 1/4″ dice
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf (fresh if possible)
1 Tbsp grainy mustard
4 Tbsp piri piri spice rub (recipe below)
2 to 3 tsp blackstrap molasses, to taste
Rub beef with piri piri spice rub and allow to marinate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté beef in batches in a wide sauté pan large enough so that the meat is not crowded. Allow each side of the meat to develop some dark black coffee colored surface before turning. Turn the meat with tongs trying to get colour on as many sides as possible.
Manage your heat in such a way that juices don’t collect in the pan and the meat does not scorch. Set the seared meat aside in another pan. Deglaze the sauté pan with some of the beer. Pour the deglazed juices over the meat. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan sauté onion in butter over low heat for 10 minutes to soften and turn lightly golden.
Add the carrots, fennel, celery and leeks and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Add beer and stock (or water), cook 2 minutes. Transfer the beef and vegetables to an oven-proof casserole. Add the mustard and bay leaf.
Simmer in oven 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours or until truly fork tender, but before it is falling apart. You want to retain some bite, but have the meat fork-tender. In other words, you should be able to break the meat up on a plate with just a fork, but not have it be stringy. Remove the casserole from the oven. Cool overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove fat from top, then remove beef from casserole and cut into desired size serving pieces. Strain out vegetables and reserve. Remove bay leaf.
Add back half of the vegetables (discard the remainder) to the liquid* and purée thoroughly in a blender or with a hand blender. It is essential to make this velvety smooth. Stir in molasses to taste.
Reheat the beef in this sauce in a preheated 350°F oven.
* Note: you should have about 1 cup of liquid. Not enough liquid: stretch with water. Too much liquid:reduce to 1 cup.
Piri Piri Spice Rub
3 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper
2 1/2 tsp dried red chilies
3 Tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp anise seeds
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
Toast cumin seeds. Grind thyme, caraway, coriander, cumin, chilis and anise seeds in a spice grinder until fine. Combine all.
Celery Root Purée
1 pound celery root, peeled – 1″ dice
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled – 1″ dice
1 1/2 cups milk
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Cook celery root and potato in a medium pot with milk and a pinch of salt on a low boil. When tender throughout, purée in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This mixture is easily reheated in a small pot, stirring as you go or in the microwave.
Chef Margaret Tip:
This dish works well if made a day or two ahead so that you cool the beef in the braising liquid. This way, you can cut the beef while it is cold and it is more attractive that way. It also enhances the flavours of the dish .
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Photo: Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm