“That’s good enough to make for company.”
It’s what my mom usually says when I make these cheesy, herbed potatoes. Company food. The concept is very 1950s. For me, it evokes images of a juicy pot roast and all the trimmings. It includes retro pre-dinner cocktails with tiny onions on toothpicks.
I’m not a fan of the “company food” ideology. You are–or should be–your best company! If you don’t value yourself enough to make the “good” food, then what’s the point?
The following recipe would probably make Julia Child cringe. I’ve basically taken her famous variation on boeuf bourguignon–made even more famous by the movie, “Julie & Julia” (2009)–and neutered it. Gone are the mushrooms, the beef stock, the bone-in meat and the ridiculous cooking time. Here’s a PDF of Child’s recipe from her book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” published by Knopf (now Knopf Doubleday).
What remains is basically the beef that is braised in a bath of red wine, onions and spices. Nothing can be that bad if it involves red wine. Nothing. I may have purchased the spare ribs just to justify buying red wine…Yes, I did that.
Bastardized Boeuf Bourguignon, serves 2
4 boneless beef short ribs
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 Bay leaf
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 carrots, diced
1 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Toss the short ribs with the flour to lightly coat. Set aside.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a 10- or 12-inch sauté pan, it should have a depth of about 2-inches. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, Bay leaf, red pepper flakes and cardamom pods. Cook for another 2 minutes or until fragrant.
3. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the meat. Sear on all sides to get a good color. Once browned, add the red wine and scrape any browned bits off the bottom. Reduce the heat to low and add the carrots. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, until liquid has reduced by half. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve warm. I paired it with big pile of cooked greens.