Video Recipes, DIY's, Island Life, Natural Living & Minimalism

Christmas Supper

Christmas Tree

Our Christmas supper and celebration was held on December 17th since J was flying back to St. Croix on the 18th.  It was bittersweet to know that for the first time since we met, we wouldn’t be spending Christmas or New Years with each other but it was mitigated by the fact that this “Christmas” was another one for the books.

We gathered our nearest and dearest and came together over wine braised ribs sharing laughter and love – the best kind of Christmas gift.  Accompanying the tender beef was cheesy-creamy polenta, roasted brussels sprouts and balsamic onion tarts.  This is a pretty simple “set it and forget it” type meal.  It just takes a bit of preparation beforehand and the rest can be whipped up in about 30 minutes before serving.  The best part is, the entire house smells amazing as it simmers and the sauce is already built in.  Even better yet is that the any leftover sauce makes an incredible pasta sauce.  You’ll thank me later for that one.  Since there was no true recipe that I followed for anything, I will do my best to outline what I did here.

Braised Beef Ribs

For the ribs:

I took 10 lbs of beef short ribs and dredged {coated in seasoned flour} then pan fried each piece in a very large pan.  These are ready when they’re crusty and golden brown.  Set aside.  In the same pan, there should be some remaining beef fat.  Use this to caramelize your trio of carrots, celery and onion.  When this is golden brown, rub in {to release its oils}, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme and 1/2 tablespoon of red pepper flakes. Remember to salt and pepper layers as you go.  Deglaze {pick up the brown bits left behind} the pan with 1 cup of good cabernet sauvignon.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of San Marzano tomato paste {the best}.  Return all the beef to this pan and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and add 1/2 quart of good beef stock {preferably homemade} 1 cup of pomegranate juice and 1 more cup of wine.  Toss in 3 dried bay leaves and simmer for 6-8 hours.  Serve over polenta {or rice, potatoes, egg noodles, etc} and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and pomegranate arils.

For the polenta:

Boil 4 cups of good chicken stock {again, preferably homemade -this makes a huge difference when you’re cooking}.  Gradually whisk in 2 cups of polenta {fine cornmeal}.  Season with salt and pepper as you go.  Gradually whisk in 1 1/4 cup of WARM whole milk.  Stir in 1 stick of room temperature butter, 1 cup of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and 1 cup of room temperature mascarpone cheese.

For the brussels sprouts:

Trim and halve 2 pounds of brussels sprouts.  Generously toss with olive oil {not extra virgin since we’ll be using high heat}, himalayan or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Optional: garlic.  Splash with balsamic vinegar and roast at 450 degrees for 10-20 minutes {I like mine extra crunchy and aim for about 10}.  I topped mine with crispy onions-you know, the ones I used in my ramen video because I had so much left over from Thanksgiving.

For the tarts:

Easy-peasy: since I spent so much time on the beef, I utilized the all-butter Dufour pastry from my local natural markets {one of the perks of being back stateside!} I simply trimmed off squares and nestled in my balsamic glazed onions in the centers before baking each egg wash brushed piece.  For the onions, I sliced up 4 sweet vidalia onions, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme then cooked them on medium low heat for awhile until they turned golden brown.  In the middle of the cooking process, after they’d wilted down a considerable amount, I splashed in 1-2 tablespoons of quality balsamic vinegar.

I hope this provides you with some Christmas meal inspiration.

Happy Holidays!


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