I need to talk about the sandwich.
I call it “the sandwich” because it is the best I’ve ever had. When the word sandwich is mentioned, this is “the sandwich” that pops into my brain as a reference. The barbecue pulled pork comes pretty close, but this one is ever so slightly better.
I first encountered it on the cover for Bon Appetit. Typically, I thumb through BA leisurely, progressing gradually from cover to cover. When I saw a photo of this on the February front page, I looked immediately for the page number and made a hastily scrawled list of the things I would need. I attempted “the sandwich” that night. It was a late night, as it takes about 4 hours. Don’t be daunted, most of that time is just waiting for the meat to practically fall off the bone in the red wine, stock, and vegetables. Just be aware that this isn’t really a weeknight meal.
I have modified the recipe for my needs, so here’s my version:
yield 2-3 sandwiches
2 pounds of beef short ribs, bone in
Olive Oil as needed
1 celery stalk
1 large carrot, peeled, medium dice
1/2 medium onion, medium dice
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large fresh thyme sprig
3-4 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat pan to medium high. Add olive oil. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Sear the ribs on every side until deep brown. Remove from pan. Add celery, carrots, and onions with a pinch of salt. Saute until softened and lightly caramelized.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add garlic, thyme, and sage, and another pinch of salt. Return ribs to pot.
Simmer, covered, for one hour. Flip. Cover and simmer another hour and a half, until the meat is fork tender. Turn off heat. Remove ribs from pot. The meat will have shrunk considerably, exposing the bone.
You should be able to pull that bone right out. Remove thyme and sage from sauce. Let ribs and sauce cool for 1/2 hour. While they’re cooling, pickle some onions.
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin (this is prettier with red onion, if you’re concerned with aesthetics)
pinch of salt
splash of red wine vinegar
sprinkle of sugar
Preheat pan to medium low. Add butter. Once foaming, add onions and a pinch of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly caramelized. Turn off heat. Add splash of vinegar and sprinkle of sugar, and stir until the vinegar is absorbed. Taste, adjust.
Skim fat off sauce. Cut meat into 1/4 inch slices, trimming any excess fat and residual connective tissue.
Toss meat in sauce. Turn heat on low and bring back to lukewarm while you assemble the sandwich.
2 slices of sourdough*
1 – 2 ounces of moderately flavored melting cheese**
Handful of baby spinach***
Preheat pan to medium. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Toast in pan. While toasting, lay cheese on one slice of the bread to melt. Once the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, top the slice of bread without cheese with a helping of short rib and sauce. Top with onions and baby spinach. Top with cheesy bread.
If no one is watching, lick plate.
Just kidding….Sort of.
* “Jaime,” you say, “Do you have some sort of obsession with sourdough? You eat nothing but sourdough.” Yes, yes I do. I make a loaf every week. I’m trying to perfect my technique.
**I still had quesadilla cheese around my house, so I used that with some pecorino romano grated on top of it for punch.
***Arugula is better on this sandwich if you have it, but I only had spinach.