Just because I have a sinus infection and nasty case of bronchitis that has made me a cough-y, achy, hot tranny mess, doesn’t mean that I can’t get shizz done, yo. In between transporting mini lazy pup to the vet and going to the doctor myself, I did three loads of laundry, cleaned my home office, and hosted a playdate with the boy and his pal Ben at the Busy-Lazy Shack.
In between all of that, I whipped up a delicious dinner for my family. Because that’s how I roll, yo. I made braised beef short ribs with carrots, couscous, and a lovely red wine reduction. Busy daddy said it was one of the best dishes I ever made! I said, It should be, since I slaved in the kitchen for four hours, yo!
In truth, though, it’s really easy to make, it’s just a bit time consuming. Here’s how:
- Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. Salt and pepper about two pounds of boneless short ribs, and then brown all sides in a bit of vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. About four minutes or so a side.
- When the meat is browned, place in a bowl. In the dutch oven, wilt and lightly brown two large onions, thinly sliced. Add two tablespoons of tomato paste and stir. Then add eight cloves of garlic. Stir again.
- When everything appears to be incorporated, add two cups of red wine. Turn up the heat to medium high and reduce the wine by half.
- Add a handful of baby carrots. Add three sprigs of fresh thyme. Add a cup of beef broth. Add back the meat.
- Bring the whole thing to a simmer, then cover and place in the oven for two to three hours. You’ll want to turn the meat once or twice.
- When the meat is fork tender, remove the meat and carrots, and strain the liquid. Skim off the fat, then reduce the liquid by half. You’ll end up with about a cup or so of red wine reduction.
- Voilà! Serve with couscous and carrots. Seriously, it’s a super easy recipe, it just takes, like, four hours to make. It’s not like I was doing anything else today, sheesh.
Being that we’re largely insulated in suburbia it’s hard not to get a bit worked up over all the dining options in Chicago. Toss in a few “Best of” lists and it’s a truly daunting task to pick a spot for a family outing. Case in point - recently downtown for a night to enjoy the Christmas lights and take in some casual grub. Where to go? With two teenage boys in tow, Pizza seemed like a good, and affordable, choice.
Off to Yelp, Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Serious Eats, Slice, etc. to read, reference, cross reference and generally research the sheeyat out of the pizza scene. All signs pointed to Pequod’s. On lots of lists? Check. Yelp rating? Check. Affordable? Check. Plus it seemed to have the allure of the scarcely found, yet much underrated, carmelized crust (see Quatro’s in Carbondale).
The order - Family salad, wings, one large extra cheese/extra sauce, one large sausage. The verdict - Salad fail…served on warm plates, not anything fresh tasting about it, cheese torn in irregular shapes. Wings fail…baked not fried, no tabasco or hot sauce to speak of on ‘em. Pizza…well, nothing special. It had a LOT of cheese and sauce, no complaints there. But it just lacked flavor. The sauce is sweet, almost like a can of Ragu dumped on top of the cheese. Lacking any real flavor profile or depth. The carmelized crust delivered - to a point - but had more burnt taste than carmelized. The damage? $116 with tip included. Fed 6 of us easily and could have fed 2-3 more.
For me, I’ll stick to Lou’s for the time being and wait to go back and hit Piece, Great Lakes Pizza, Due, Pizano’s or any of the others I found while scouring the web. Anyone else have some pie feedback? Let’s hear it.