Happy Holiday Season, y’all! The season of giving. And of course eating, eating, drinking, eating some more and having “just one more glass.”
Tell me it isn’t the best season ever.
But do you ever find yourself getting stuck in the same rut year after year, gifting that same bottle of wine, serving the same dinner?
Maybe it’s time to try something new.
I love French wine and cheese. The biggest reason? Quality – these companies know what they’re doing and they do it well.
And I can guarantee anyone that is served or gifted any of these bottles – whether it is your boss, the hostess at a holiday party, a newly engaged couple, your kid’s teacher, any wine lover – will think you spent an arm and a leg and appreciate the quality that only French products have.
But the best thing is that excellent French wine and cheese is more accessible and affordable than you think. The cheeses are available at most grocers’ gourmet cheese section, and you can learn more about Georges Duboeuf or Légende wines here and here, respectively.
As for today’s recipe, I wanted something that you could find in an upscale restaurant but still easily make at home. I had this dish for my anniversary dinner and loved it so much I decided to adapt it for the blog. It is perfect for a dinner party or romantic night at home in front of a fire.
Start with a cheese board with lots of fruit, nuts, crackers, a baguette and the Ile de France cheese above and serve this with a glass (or two) of the Légende Bordeaux Rouge or honestly any of these wines. By the end of the night you’ll be singing your own rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
And follow all of the steps for the sauce – even the butter and sugar. It’s the holidays after all. Forget the calories and indulge in quality, decadence, and richness of French wine and cheese. You deserve it.
Until next time. x
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Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
A delicious, decadent and easy dish – this recipe for Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs is excellent for a dinner party or romantic night in. Pair with a glass of your favorite red wine!
- 2 lbs. beef short ribs, bone-in
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 TB unsalted butter
- 4 c. unsalted or low sodium beef stock
- 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 1/4 c. water
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 1 c. sweet cherry tomatoes
- 4 c. prepared mashed potatoes
- Set a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat. Test the heat by tossing in a few drops of water. If it is ready they should “dance” around the skillet.
- Season both sides of the short ribs with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and immediately place a few at a time into the skillet, leaving about 1-2″ space in between. This will likely need to be done in multiple batches.
- Sear each side of the short ribs about 2 minutes each to get a nice crust, then transfer them to the slow cooker.
- Remove the pan from heat, add the butter and deglaze (scrape the brown bits from the bottom). Let simmer 1-2 minutes or until it produces a nutty aroma and pour it in the slow cooker, then the beef stock, balsamic vinegar, thyme and bay leaves. Cook on high for about 4 hours.
- Remove the short ribs, discard the bones and set aside (these can be placed in a 200°F oven to keep warm if needed). Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Add the brown sugar and a cornstarch slurry (the cornstarch and water mixed together until it is a thin liquid). Simmer until the sauce thickens – it should coat the spoon – then remove from heat and set aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, place the olive oil, asparagus and tomatoes. Saute for 5-10 minutes, tossing frequently, until the asparagus darkens and wilts and the skin on the tomatoes begin to wrinkle and peel away.
- To plate: Dividing amongst 4 plates, layer the mashed potatoes, then the asparagus and tomatoes, then 2-3 short ribs. Top with a healthy pour of sauce and serve warm with a glass of red wine.
This recipe makes a lot of sauce and it doesn’t reheat well so it will all need to be used immediately or discarded. If you’re cooking for a larger crowd, just double the short ribs, mashed potatoes, asparagus and tomatoes. The sauce will still be enough.
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