A couple of Saturdays ago, I dragged my cooking club ladies down the paleo rabbit hole—with quite astonishing results. We gorged ourselves on shepherd’s pie, shrimp cakes, lettuce wraps, bacon-wrapped dates, meatballs, key lime pie, chocolate banana pie and last but not least, insanely rich, beef short ribs—bursting with flavor and piled high atop rosemary and bacon-studded sweet potatoes.
Dave eyed the feast from afar, then dove in for the kill as the girls distractedly lingered over paleo-approved palomas.
As for the short ribs, I hesitate to even call them paleo. Nothing is sacrificed, nothing left to be desired. The only thing that could possibly make this dish better is a loaf of crusty french bread to mop up the juices.
mmmm …. bread …
Sorry. Anyway, as I was saying, the recipe is slow, but you can feel the love in the finished dish—and the flavor is worth every minute.
Wine-braised beef short rib with rosemary and bacon sweet potatoes (shhh … it’s paleo!)
(adapted from Saveur)
4 lbs beef short ribs, bone in
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 bottle (750 ml) tawny port
3 cups beef stock
3 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
For sweet potatoes:
three large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 sprigs rosemary
3/4 cup ghee (or butter)
8 slices bacon
1/4 tsp white pepper
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Generously season ribs with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large stove and oven-proof pot/baking dish over high heat (I used my big cast iron enamel Le Creuset—it will have to be large enough to hold all of the ingredients). Add ribs and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Add veggies to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Deglaze with port and cook for about 15 minutes, or until port is reduced by about three-quarters.
Return ribs to pot and add stocks and water. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid or foil and put in the oven.
Bake for about 2 1/2 hours or until the ribs begin to break apart easily with a fork. Remove from oven and allow pot to cool. You can refrigerate overnight, or, like I did, let it cool for a couple of hours or so, then complete the next steps as your dinner guests arrive.
The next day or about an hour before you aim to serve dinner, transfer pot to stove and simmer over medium heat for about an hour, until the sauce begins to thicken into a syrupy consistency and concentrate in flavor. Spoon liquid over ribs every now and then as the dish heats and move the ribs around as necessary to make sure they don’t burn.
At the same time you put the ribs back on the stove, cook your sweet potatoes in a covered baking dish with butter or ghee and rosemary in a 375-degree oven for about an hour or until tender. When cooked through, add bacon and puree sweet potatoes (along with the rosemary and butter).
Serve short ribs over sweet potatoes and topped with a healthy ladle of sauce from the pot.