I decided that I would use up the last of my short ribs with a cooking technique inspired by my Mom and Marcella Hazan. I am not sure where the origins of braising in milk first started but the Italians take it to the limit in Lombardy and Emila-Romagna where the cuisine is rich and dairy is abundant. Usually the dish is used with pork or lamb but I adapted it to work exceptionally well with beef by adding Gorgonzola cheese. We all love blue cheese on a steak or burger, and adore it with tortellini. The milk imparts a sweetness to the beef, the Gorgonzola speaks for itself. If you are a fan of stinky cheese the way I am you will sprinkle some extra nobs over the beef upon serving. I used the flanken cut because that is what I had but I think that the English cut will work very well in this dish. Serve it over a flat pasta like parpadelle or fettuccine but in Italy they would probably eat it as the il secondo (main course) served with just the sauce napped over the meat. This is not the atypical heavy bleu cheese sauce, only 2 teaspoons get added before serving, but the taste is there by adding it to the braising liquid. If you prefer a lighter sauce omit the last step altogether. Whatever way you do it, do it soon because you will wonder where this dish has been hiding. —Stockout
2-3 pounds short ribs with bones
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup onion, chopped
Plenty of freshly milled black pepper
3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon honey, or agave nectar or fig jam
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese, but any bleu would do
1 bay leaf
Beurre manie (1 part butter + 1 part flour)
2 teaspoons extra gorgonzola
In This Recipe
In a solid bottomed Dutch Oven or stockpot, melt butter and saute carrots, celery and onions. Meanwhile, chop the pancetta and add that.
Saute until edges start to lightly brown.
Add the meat and brown on all sides without removing the aromatics. Just slide them aside and around the meat.
When the beef is browned on all sides, lightly salt and generously pepper, then add the milk, bay leaf, honey and gorgonzola. Bring to a slow simmer.
Cover the pot and cook, on very low for 3 hours. Meat should be tender but not pulling apart.
At this point the milk and cheese will have separated and look curdy. Do not worry, all that will be strained out and the flavor will remain in the liquid. Remove the meat and reserve.
In a cheesecake lined strainer or a very fine seive, drain the pot of all the rest of the ingredients, pressing to get all the goodness out.
With a gravy separator or an overnight refrigeration, skim the fat from the sauce.
Clean the meat from the bones and remove the cartilage. Slice into bite sized pieces.
Before serving, make a beurre manie with equal parts flour and butter (use a fork or your fingers) and with the sauce in a pan, add small bits while whisking continuously until the sauce starts to bubble. Add the last 2 teaspoons of gorgonzola and swirl pan to melt. Place the meat into the sauce for warming and serve. Can top with additional cheese.