Monday, August 3, 2009

Ale braised beef

With my chopped ingredients (as you recall, cane sugar, spare ribs, cellophane noodles, fava beans, white balsamic vinegar) I made a dinner with elements that worked and ones that fell flat.

I braised the ribs in Sam Adam's Summer Ale, having first seared them and added onions, garlic and golden cherries. Very little can go wrong when you start this way. When the meat was finished, I removed them and reduced the sauce with a bit of cane sugar grated in with the back of a vegetable peeler to achieve a kind of glaze. It worked. :o)

The fava beans were a bit intimidating, having read that they can be poisonous raw. I shelled them and boiled them, then removed their outer casing (as one might an edemame). I added them to some boiled, rustically smash cut potatoes and doused with the vinegar. I was going for a sort of pub "chips" taste.

Four ingredients thus out of the way, this left only the cellophane noodles. Have you ever seen the footage of dropping these in hot oil and they puff up immediately like someone's pulled the string on an emergency lifeboat? Yeah, it doesn't actually work. I looked it up ahead of time and used a thermometer, even. I achieved semi-success with soaking the noodles first, but even this wasn't right. I had intended it to be a garnish. Fortunately, I had saved out about a third of the package. I put these straight into the sauce from the beef to cook that way.

The meal worked. The meat was tender, although another hour would've been perfect. The sauce had all melded and married, so much so that eating a bit of cherry just tasted like the meaty goodness of the whole. The beans and potatoes were tasty and comforting. All in all, a qualified success.

1 comment:

  1. Pub chips, as in, like a take on the malt vinegar thing? Hmm. Not sure I picked that up exactly. I'm honestly vaguely frightened by malt vinegar, but LOVED this with the white balsamic.

    And I know the cellophane noodles cooked in the broth/sauce/glaze were kind of your second choice, but they might have been my favorite part of the dish. I'd have eaten a whole bowl of them, all studded with onions and wilted cherries and beefy goodness... Yum.