December 25, 2010

A pretty expensive beef stew

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It's Christmas Day and I've invited my Favorite Cousin over for dinner.  On holidays such as this I've always found it more interesting to do something at home, even if it involves me cooking in the kitchen.  I've had a couple of half-empty bottles of Colgin Cabernets sitting at home for the last 2 weeks, and the best way to get rid of it was to pour it into a pot for a beef stew.

I went back to my neighborhood butcher for the beef, and was looking to avoid grain-fed US beef for environmental reasons.  Unfortunately, the only Aussie short ribs were bone-in and frozen... so I picked up the same USDA Prime boneless short ribs as last year.

While the beef was being braised, we started nibbling on some 24-month Mimolette and 30-month Comté I brought back from Paris last month.  I also opened up a bottle of 1987 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve.  This was part of a 12-vintage vertical I picked up at the winery 10 years ago, and it drank very well tonight.  Big, smoky nose with minerals, sweet fruit, mint and vanilla oak.  Still pretty concentrated and full-bodied.  Very Left Bank in style.  Yummy.

We had a simple salad of spinach, tomato and mozzarella to put some greens in our diet...

The beef short ribs braised in red wine used up the half bottle of leftover 2003 Colgin Cabernet Sauvignon IX Estate.  In my hurry to bring the dish to table, I had totally forgotten to skim off the fat from the beef.  The result was a hearty stew with a good amount of fat separated from the sauce.  The diced carrots, onions and celery produced a good blend of flavors with the wine, although I had rubbed a little too much Antarctic ocean salt on the beef.  The richness of the flavors, no doubt, came in part from the big and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Favorite Cousin had brought along a big box of macarons from Le Goûter Bernardaud.  While the quality was clearly not of the same standard as my favorites - Pierre Hermé and Sadaharu Aoki - these were much appreciated and enjoyed.

I'm pretty happy that I got to have a relaxing dinner at home tonight.  The one regret is that I forgot to bring out my big Le Creuset cocotte I bought a few months ago.  Oh well, there's always next time...

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