Braised Short Ribs

Makes 18 appetizer servings

Note: Start this recipe the day before.

6 flanken-cut short ribs (3 bone pieces, cut 1 1/2-inch thick)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 small carrot, diced

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 bay leaf

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 cups beef stock

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1/8 star anise pod

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut meat into individual ribs; season with salt and pepper; dust with flour. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan over high heat. Add ribs and brown on all sides, working in batches. Transfer ribs to a plate.

2. Add onions and carrots to pan; saute, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Pour off excess fat. Add wine and sherry to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce by three-quarters until thick and slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes.

3. Return ribs to pan; add remaining ingredients so liquid covers ribs. Bring to a boil; cover with foil and braise in the oven, until fork-tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. The next day, remove any excess fat. Warm over medium heat, uncovered. Remove bones, if desired. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Continue to cook, spooning sauce over ribs, until sauce is thick and ribs are glazed, taking care to avoid burning. Serve with celery root puree and kale pesto.

Celery Root Puree

Makes 4 cups

2 pounds celery root, peeled and diced

1/2 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 tablespoons whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Boil celery root and potatoes until cooked through. Drain; process through a food mill. Heat milk until warm, mix into celery root mixture with butter and creme fraiche until smooth. Season to taste.

Tuscan Kale Pesto

Makes 1 cup

1 bunch Tuscan kale

1 tablespoon sliced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped

4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped

4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoon currants, soaked in warm water and chopped

3/4 teaspoon anchovies, chopped finely

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Remove central vein from kale. Blanch in salted boiling water for 7 minutes. Shock in ice water; drain, then squeeze until very dry. Blanch sliced garlic in the same water for 30 seconds; shock and drain. Chop kale and garlic finely; combine with remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

-- Taste Catering, San Francisco