Hamilton, Montana: Happenstance setting, French meets Asian short ribs. The Adventure Continues!

The pot that inspired this meal.

 

We are back on the road, heading slowly towards the Brooklyn home-base.  It has been an amazing adventure thus far and the wedding last Saturday was absolutely beautiful.

 

I write this post while sitting on a couch in a perfectly breezy living room of an 1880’s farmhouse in the gorgeous landscape of the Bitterroot Valley, Montana. A place we are able to stay in purely by happenstance.

 

Over the course of the week before Shane and Mike’s wedding we met a lot of their friends and family and told everyone about our trip and our tentative plans for the ride home. One of Mike’s aunts perked up when I mentioned plans to camp in Missoula, MT and immediately offered us the use of her house, an hour south of Missoula.

 

We are now surrounded by mountains, there are horses in the yard, our dog refuses to come inside because he’s far too excited, this afternoon we went swimming in an alpine lake – Lake Como!

 

The theme of our trip has become “rebirth”. I know that may sound cheesy, but it’s very fitting for us right now. You know that feeling you get just before something in your life changes dramatically for the better? Well Paul and my “times they are a’changin” senses tingling. There is a kind of magic in the air. The calm before a beautiful and much needed storm – in a very good way.

 

With “rebirth” in mind we decided to let things unfold before us and follow the path that presented itself.  It’s an amazing feeling to trust that the Universe will provide for you. I know I sound very cosmic! But I feel very fulfilled at the moment, and again we ended up here in Hamilton, MT by trusting the Universe, so we must be doing something right :)

 

 

 

French Meets Asian Short Ribs:

 

Ten short ribs

 

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 strips of crispy bacon – roughly chopped

2 tsp’s Anaheim pepper (or any red chili pepper) – deseeded and minced

2 tbps’s garlic – minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger – minced

 

1 ½ heaping tsp Dijon mustard

 

½ a large yellow onion (about a cup chopped)

4 tbsp’s fresh tarragon – roughly chopped

2 cups baby yellow potatoes

 

2 + cups of dry white wine

2 + cups of water – not hot

 

Over a high flame, heat two tbsp’s of olive oil in a med-large dutch oven sprinkle the oil with a generous amount of coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper. Once the pan is very hot place the short ribs in a single layer and brown for 3 minutes on every side (do this in batches if your pan isn’t large enough for one layer all at once.)

 

Remove the browned meat to a bowl and set aside.

 

We start with the Asian ingredients. Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter, two more tbsp’s of olive oil and a little more salt and pepper. Once melted add in the chopped bacon, chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir to combine and scrape the bottom a bit. Allow these to cook for about 8 minutes or until they become soft and melty – if the garlic starts to brown too quickly turn the flame down… you don’t want burnt garlic, bleegch.

 

Now it’s time to add the French influence. Add the mustard and let it melt into the pot, stirring it in.  Next add the onions and tarragon, again stir to combine. Let the onion cook until it starts to sweat about four minutes (this should be over medium heat again if you needed to adjust for the garlic before, bring it back to medium now).

 

Next add the potatoes.  Let these little babies cook and brown a bit for about 8 minutes – stir occasionally.

 

More French influence! Now it’s time to deglaze the pan (add liquid to shock the bottom into releasing all of the brown goodness).  Add a ½ cup of the white wine and scrape the bottom all around, add more wine if you need more to get everything free.  Once you are satisfied with the scraping, arrange the potatoes into a single layer – or close enough to a single layer.

 

Meat time.

 

Arrange the short ribs on top of the potatoes, again in a single layer, a little overlapping is ok, but as close to a single layer as possible.

 

Pour over enough wine to come halfway up the meat, then pour over enough water to just cover the meat – I left some stubborn pieces poking up out of the liquid.

 

Cover the pot, stick it in an oven at 375’ F for two hours, then uncover the pot and cook for another hour

 

 

The beauty of this dish is that, though there are a ton of strong flavors, you taste meat when you take a bite of meat, and you taste potato when you take a bite of potato. Everything melts together in beautiful harmony, but never looses its integrity.

 

 

More cosmic Lindsay from Montana coming soon. Then on to Yellowstone, the Badlands, and Minnesotta.

ENJOY!

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