Best Wine to Pair With Beef Ribs...with a Quote and Recipe from Award-Winning Chef, Michael Chiarello
As the Chiarello Family Vineyards are owned by award-winning chef Michael Chiarello, it only makes sense to ask him what he thinks. I had the opportunity to get Michael’s thoughts on this pairing: "There are many great pairings between wine and food, but to me, this is the perfect combination. My Bambino is a full-bodied wine that compliments a dish like slow-roasted ribs. The meaty richness of the ribs, full of intense flavor as they fall off the bone, demands a full-bodied wine like this."
The Chiarello family vineyards are farmed sustainably, allowing for the environment that creates these grapes to be continually respected in the process of producing the wine. The Bambino Cabernet is a low-production wine with only about 300 cases made annually. Somewhat characteristic of a zinfandel, the Bambino has an earthy, almost peppery aroma. The palate is first graced with a minty earth tone blended with a soft oaky flavoring that gently bleeds to the light plum finish. Coming from vines only five years old, the grapes comprising this cabernet yield complex flavors, creating an immediate bond with the simple rib flavorings. Especially in contrast to the ribs, the acidity of the wine shows itself brightly in the mouth. The contrast of the earth tones of the wine will find you running back to the soft meat flavors of the ribs, while the lovely tannins lingering in your mouth will return you back to the wine in a never ending circle. The contrast between the Chiarello full-bodied Bambino Cabernet and the beef ribs is simple, yet perfectly balanced on the palate. – Heather Young, Winery Designer, L & H Design, Napa, CA.
from Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors from the Heart of California's Wine Country (Chronicle Books)
Smoked and Braised Natural Short Ribs with Roasted Cipollini
Of all the dishes I made on Top Chef Masters, this one was by far the most popular. We’ve been making this dish for twenty years, and I haven’t tasted a better short rib anywhere (and I don’t say that about many of the dishes I make).
There are three steps: brine, cold-smoke, and braise. You’ll brine the ribs for 3 hours, then cold-smoke them for 30 minutes so the smoke flavor gets pulled into the middle of the meat when you braise the ribs—it’s not just a smoke jacket. Even in midwinter, it’s worth breaking out the grill for a killer cold-smoked and braised short rib. Choose aromatic woods for the wood chips. I use the wood from wine barrels and fruit trees, as well as grape-vines. The last step is braising the ribs in red wine for 6 hours, which makes them incredibly tender.
Succulent, bold, tender yet hearty, this beef dish demands a muscular, teeth-staining red wine.
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons juniper berries
1 bay leaf
6 short ribs, about 1 1/4 pounds each
A few handfuls of oak, apple wood, or other fruit wood chips
ROASTED CIPPOLLINI ONIONS
24 unpeeled cippollini onions (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, preferably gray salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced peeled carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cups dry red wine
4 cups Roasted Chicken Stock
or store-bought low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
Ancient-Grain Polenta for serving
FOR THE BRINE: In a large pot, combine the water, kosher salt, sugar, 1 1⁄2 teaspoons juniper berries, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let the brine cool completely, then chill it in your refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
Arrange the ribs, bone-side up, in a single layer in a nonreactive 9-by-13-inch pan or other pan that fits all the ribs. Pour the brine over the ribs. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove the ribs from the brine and discard the liquid. Soak the wood chips in cold water for at least 30 minutes. While the wood soaks, light an indirect fire in a charcoal grill. Cold-smoking means keeping the temperature at 78ºF. Each time you add damp wood chips to the coal, it will bring down the temperature, so the thermometer will show some movement. Use a charcoal chimney to start a fire in the center of the fuel bed. When the coals are ready, move them carefully to either side and place an aluminum pan in the center. Add at least 2 cups of water to the aluminum pan to keep the meat moist. Allow 30 minutes for the coals to heat up; they should have a light-gray coating of ash.
Drain the wood chips and shake off the excess water. Sprinkle a quarter of the chips over the coals. Put the ribs on the grill, cover the grill, and cook for about 30 minutes, quickly turning the ribs and adding another quarter of the wood chips every 10 minutes before re-covering.
FOR THE ONIONS: Preheat the oven to 375°F. With a paring knife, trim the top from each cippollini onion and a bare minimum from the root end. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the onions for 3 minutes. Drain and let cool to the touch, then peel off their skins.
Heat a large, ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, and sauté the onions for 5 to 6 minutes, until medium-brown on both sides. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer until slightly reduced, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the onions are tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 250ºF. Heat a Dutch oven, a large ovenproof sauté pan, or a heavy roasting pan with a lid over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the yellow onion, carrot, and celery. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the vegetables until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the wine and increase the heat to medium-high to burn off the alcohol. Add the short ribs and chicken stock. Bring to a hard boil and add the juniper berries, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, then cover the pan and transfer it to the oven. Braise for 6 hours, or until the short ribs bend and almost break when lifted from the jus. Remove from the oven and let the ribs rest in the pan, covered, for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven.
Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Pass the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a wide saucepan. Cook the broth over medium-high heat to reduce until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Spoon polenta onto the center of each of 6 warmed plates, top with 1 rib, and pour on a little of the jus reduction.
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