Beef Tenderloin + Rice Salad + Yogurt Dressing

This recipe is a hodge-podge of several recipes cobbled together.  My favorite part of this salad is the cooking method for the rice.  Thanks to Sara Moulton's appearance on food52, I discovered that it can be looked like pasta!  Just boil some water, add salt, add rice, stir, and cook for 17 minutes (that is the only precise part).  No more ratios, standing over the pot watching the rice cook, or heating up the oven (although cooking rice in the oven is my second favorite method).  The yogurt sauce was inspired by a vegetarian dish called mujaddara that combines lentils with onions and rice.  The spiced yogurt provides a cool and tangy flavor to the rice, onions, and beef.

Beef Tenderloin + Rice Salad + Yogurt Dressing
yield: 1 - 2 people

for the salad:
1/2 cup jasmine rice, uncooked
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
thinly sliced radishes (as many as you want)
8 ounces beef tenderloin (or a similar cut)
salt and pepper, to taste

for the dressing:
1/4-1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
lemon juice, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

For the rice, bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Add several large pinches of Kosher salt and add the rice.  Stir and cook for 17 minutes exactly.  Drain the rice and set aside in a mixing bowl to cool. 

While the rice is cooking, add the olive oil to a small saute pan set to medium heat.  Add the thinly sliced onions and slowly caramelize until soft and light brown.  This step could take about 20-30 minutes.  Add a tablespoon or two of water if the onions start to brown too quickly; the water will slow down the cooking process slightly. 

Add the onions to the bowl of cooled rice; its fine to let them stay at room temperature.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.

For the steak, season with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat until very hot. Cook the steak, turning once, for about 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove the steak to a plate or cutting board and set it aside for 5 minutes.

To serve, scoop some of the rice mixture into bowls. Thinly slice the meat and arrange some slices on top of each serving, add the sliced radishes, and spoon some of the yogurt sauce over the salad.

Short Rib Ragu

Short rib season seems to be coming to a close with asparagus, ramps, and morels making their presence known.

And its about time. 

This ragu is has an unctuous texture due to the immersion blender; it also has the right proportions of herbs to wine to vegetables.  No additional seasoning of salt & pepper required. 

When the gremolata hits the hot pasta and ragu, the aroma is out-of-this-world.  Hard to deny anything with lemon zest/parsley/garlic.

Short Rib Ragu
adapted from Food52
serves 1-2 (plus leftover ragu)

1-2 pounds bone-in short ribs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 anchovy filet, finely chopped (or use 1 tablespoon anchovy paste)
1 1/2 cups red wine (think Merlot or Cabernet)
14 ounces whole tomatoes and juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or substitute dried, but dial it down a bit)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
1 bay leaf
beef or chicken stock or water

gremolata, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using, soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water.

Season ribs well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pot (I used a 5-qt. enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering. Brown ribs in batches for 2-3 minutes per side, then set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of accumulated fat from pot, then sauté onion, carrots and celery until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.

Push the vegetables to one side of the pot and leave a "hot spot". Add tomato paste and anchovy paste to the hot spot and stir until caramelized, then stir into the vegetables. Add red wine to deglaze and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and (if using) mushrooms and soaking liquid.

Add ribs to pot and cover with stock or water until ribs are barely covered. Bring liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and braise in oven for at least 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until ribs are fall-apart tender. Check the ribs about 1 1/2 hours into the braise.

Remove ribs from liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove bay leaf and discard. While ribs cool, purée the braising liquid with an immersion blender until thick. If needed, set pot over medium-low heat to reduce if the sauce seems thin. When ribs have cooled down, discard bones and large pieces of fat, shred the beef and return to the pot. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, skimming any large pools of fat from the surface.

Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove additional fat from the surface before reheating. Serve over pasta, polenta, or risotto sprinkled with gremolata.

1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large lemon, zest only
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Easy!