Porcini Tapenade-Rubbed Short Ribs with Rapini and Roasted Potatoes

    The Seattle weather has done it again. Earlier this week, it was grey and chill and I thought, "Fine, Seattle summer, if you're not ready yet, then to spite you, this week's special is going to be the perfect dish for what seems to be a never-ending overcast spring - hearty braised short rib." Now it’s looking like a great Seattle summer weekend.  Oh well, no change in weather can make me not want short ribs.
    I'm always on a quest for new ways to create umami flavors in our dishes.
This week was the first time I experimented with using porcini mushrooms to provide that savory element.  Porcinis are a traditional, Italian variety of mushroom, so I made a wet rub by combining them with some other classic Italian flavors, the tangy saltiness of kalamata olives, aromatic rosemary, and extra virgin olive oil. I think it turned out pretty well, but I'd love some feedback or suggestions on it!


Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Porcini Tapenade Rub
1/3 cups pitted kalamata olives
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
3 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/3 cup dried, ground porcini mushrooms
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil

4 8oz short rib cuts

Braising Liquid
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup red wine (Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F. Put the kalamata olives, rosemary, garlic, porcini, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the chopped jalapeño into food processor and add the honey and olive oil as you purée it all into a rough paste. Massage the rub into the short ribs and let them soak up the flavors for about 20 to 30 minutes. Place them on a sheet pan and roast them for 30 minutes, turning them over at 20 minutes (or when they've begun to caramelize on the outside).

Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 280 degrees F. Transfer any remaining porcini tapenade rub into a braising pan with the other braising liquid ingredients, making only a very shallow layer of liquid. Place the short ribs in the braising pan on top of the onions and braise them for about 2 to 4 hours, checking every half hour after 1 1/2 hours. The meat should give a little without falling apart. If the meat starts to go dry at all, make sure to add a little more braising liquid to keep the moisture in the oven up until the short ribs start giving up their own juices. You want to make sure that the rub doesn't get lost in during the braising!

I recommend serving the short ribs with roasted potatoes and a lighter green like rapini with your favorite onion vinaigrette, but I'd love to hear your idea about other pairings. Speaking of pairings, what type of wine would you pair with this dish at home?

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