Recipe: The Winery's Zinfandel Braised Bone-In Prime Beef Short Ribs, Carrot Pearl Couscous and Roasted Asparagus

Here's a recipe that's more elaborate than others we've featured recently. It's from the Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar in Tustin (where Yvon Goetz is Executive Chef and Partner), so it should come as no surprise that a whole bottle of the drink of the gods is a key ingredient. And if you can get your version to look as good as his, you deserve a second one.

Ingredients (serves four)

For the short ribs:

4 1lb short ribs, bone in
1 bottle Zinfandel
1 qt veal stock
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
¼ cup leek, diced
1 cup onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp black peppercorn, crushed
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 each bay leaf

For the pearl couscous and garnish:

1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous (can be found in well-stocked grocery stores or specialty food stores)
½ cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup white wine
1 cup carrot juice
1 oz butter
1 tsp chives, chopped
salt and pepper
20 green asparagus, blanched
4 slices prosciutto (or bacon)

For the short ribs:
Debone the short ribs and save four bones. Wrap each short rib around one of the bones and tie with a piece of butcher's string. Season well with salt and pepper and dust with flour, shaking off the excess. In a medium-sized pot sear the short ribs in the vegetable oil until golden brown. Remove the ribs and set aside. Sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the remaining oil for about four minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for two more minutes, pour the red wine over the vegetables and reduce by two-thirds. Add the veal stock to the vegetable mixture, place the meat in the pot (making sure the meat is covered with the stock) and bring to a quick boil. Add the black peppercorns, bay leaf and fresh thyme sprig and cover with a lid or a sheet of foil. Cook for about 2½ hours or until very tender in a 300ºF oven.
When cooked, remove the meat from the stock, strain the stock in a fine mesh strainer and reduce until the right consistency (syrupy). Set aside.

For the couscous:
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, sweat the finely chopped onions and garlic for one minute, then add the couscous, stirring occasionally, for three minutes. Add the carrot juice, salt and pepper and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is still al dente (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and add the butter and chopped chives.

For the asparagus:
Peel the bottom part of the asparagus and quickly blanch in salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Cool down in iced water. Wrap five spears of asparagus in the prosciutto slice, place on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in a 350ºF oven for five minutes.

To serve:
Arrange the couscous onto the center of the plate, remove the string from the short rib and place on top. Pour some of the hot sauce over it, making sure to cover the meat well. Lean the asparagus against the ribs and finish the presentation with a sprig of fresh thyme.

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