Braised Alberta Beef Short Ribs
These slow-simmering short ribs are one of the most requested by passengers on the Rocky Mountaineer. The dish showcases a Merlot native to the Okanagan Valley, which the train passes through on its routes, but you can substitute your favourite Merlot.
1 bottle Okanagan Valley Merlot
3 pieces pappadum
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
1 kg (2 lb) short ribs, trimmed
Sea salt, to taste
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) black peppercorns, crushed
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, chopped
10 garlic cloves, crushed
8 large shallots, trimmed and split
6 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
30 ml (2 tbsp) tomato paste
2 l (8 cups) beef or chicken stock, unsalted
Ground white pepper, to taste
Into a large saucepan with high sides, heat wine over medium heat. Using a long barbecue or fireplace match, carefully set fumes at edge of pan alight (immediately step back and avert face). Let flames die out, then increase heat so that wine boils. Let it boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from heat.
Centre a rack in the oven and heat to 180 C (350 F). Place pappadum on oven rack and bake until bubbles start to appear on surface and pappadum starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately remove from oven and set aside.
In a Dutch oven or large casserole dish big enough to hold 6 ribs, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season ribs all over with salt and crushed pepper. When oil is hot, slip ribs into pot and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until well browned. Transfer browned ribs to a plate.
Remove all but 15 ml (1 tbsp) of fat from pot.
Chop carrots, celery and leek into 2.5-cm (1-inch) pieces. Reduce heat to medium and toss in vegetables and herbs. Brown vegetables lightly for 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend.
Deglaze with red wine, stirring up browned bits, and add browned ribs and stock to pot. Bring to a boil. Cover pot tightly and slide it into oven to braise for about 2 1/2 hours or until ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled to surface.
Carefully transfer meat to a heated serving platter with a lip and keep warm. Boil pan liquid until it thickens and reduces to about 1 l (4 cups). Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard solids.
Serve short ribs, with or without the bone, with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Drizzle sauce over meat. Garnish with a crisp pappadum.
Makes 6 servings.
Fluffy Whole-Wheat and Buttermilk Pancakes
These pancakes can be served with a compote concocted from berries native to British Columbia, but on a busy weekday morning the pancakes may be all you have time to make — and they're delicious in their own right.
125 ml (1/2 cup) whole-wheat flour
125 ml (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
50 ml (1/4 cup) white sugar
10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
50 ml (1/4 cup) milk
125 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
50 ml (1/4 cup) canola oil, for cooking
50 ml (1/4 cup) blueberries
50 ml (1/4 cup) blackberries
50 ml (1/4 cup) strawberries
75 ml (1/3 cup) white sugar
Compote: In a medium saucepan on low heat, cook berries with sugar for 30 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
Pancakes: Into a bowl, sift all dry ingredients and combine. Add eggs and mix in milk and buttermilk. The batter should be thick but not too thick (if additional liquid is required, add a little water). Set aside and let rest for 1 hour.
In a frying pan or flat grill, heat a small amount of oil. When hot, spoon pancake batter onto hot surface. Cook until pancakes start to bubble on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 minutes. Flip over and cook until golden, about 1 minute.
Repeat until all of the batter has been used, keeping pancakes warm until ready to serve. Drizzle berry compote on top.
Makes 4 servings.
Source: "Eat Pray Love: Regionally Inspired Cuisine by Rocky Mountaineer," with recipes created by chefs Jean Pierre Guerin and Frederic Couton.