Dinner Time

Saturday evening, along with some dear friends, I dined at a wine bar in Orange County called Wine Works for Everyone.   But more than just pouring glasses of Pinot Noir and Viognier, the restaurant specialized in dishes that paired well with their favorite wines.   The experience (food, wine, and ambiance included) was perfectly lovely, one that I will repeat as soon as possible.
At Wine Works, we ordered a Malbec from Argentina, a wine that seems to have become wildly popular (due to low price and consistently deep flavors) in recent years.  To compliment the spicy notes of the Malbec, I selected short ribs from the menu.  The meat was so perfectly autumnal and satisfying that I set out to recreate the dish at home tonight. At first I was mildly phobic about this seemingly tricky cut of beef, but I discovered a slow cooker recipe that closely mimicked the ribs I tasted over the weekend and was extraordinarily easy as well! 
Dice one large yellow onion and four carrots.
Clean one carton of shitake mushrooms.
Per recipe below, create sauce out of Malbec, chili sauce, mustard powder, chili powder, vinegar & brown sugar.
Coat short ribs in flour, salt and pepper and then sear until just browned.
In the rendered beef fat, cook the onion, carrots and mushroom briefly---just a few minutes until onions are just barely translucent.
Add beef and onion mixture to slow cooker.
Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
Recipe for short ribs adapted from All Recipes.  Note that I doubled the sauce and added four diced carrots and one carton of shitake mushrooms to the mix. Depending on how many ribs you use, you may want to add some beef stock to ensure that your meat is covered with enough cooking liquid. I also used a mid-price range Malbec ($15) to create the sauce---nothing too expensive for cooking, but something that you would drink alongside the dish.

I served the short ribs (which cook like mini pot-roasts) with roasted Brussel Sprouts (my recipe was featured here) and puréed butternut squash with a drizzle of maple syrup. The flavors mingled nicely and were made even more robust by the wine pairing. 

What's even more wonderful is the way your home will smell after a few hours of simmering short ribs--the wine and garlic and onions produce the most enticing aroma!  This dish would be perfect for a casual fall dinner party or Sunday supper.  This is a guaranteed hubby pleaser, assuming your hubby is of the carnivore variety and not the tofu variety.

Bon appétit, mes amis!

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