This is an unrepentantly indulgent comfort food dish which balances melt-in-the-mouth beef with creamy, cheesy, potato and lightly sautéed mushrooms. The natural astringency in the reduction sauce from the braise plus the light vinaigrette on the mushrooms really lifts the dish and stops it being way too heavy. Roquefort loves beef but also brings a satisfying acidity which also helps balance the whole thing out.
500g beef short ribs
Marsala, a splash
Onion, bay leaf for the braise
Sherry, a dash
2 baking potatoes
Double cream, to taste
Herb oil (optional)
1. Get your braise on. The longer you cook this the more unctuous and delicious the end result. And because it’s a very low oven you can let it cook on its own all day whilst you do something else. In a heavy le creuset-style casserole dish/Dutch oven heat a tablespoon of oil until it’s smoking then add the ribs. Brown on all sides very well. Now throw in a chopped onion and bay leaf, and let colour very slightly before adding a good glug of Marsala and sherry wines. Let it reduce down to almost nothing then cover with your stock. If you don’t have real beef stock just use water; using a stock cube will leave the final sauce unbelievably salty given it will be so heavily reduced. Cover with a lid and put into an oven at 135c for at least 5 hours.
2. Quarter the potatoes and boil in well salted water until really falling apart. Don’t peel them first as there is a lot of flavour in that skin which would want to try to keep in the final mash. Transfer to a colander and let them steam themselves dry. Now either push through either a sieve or a potato ricer into a pan (remember you can not make mashed potatoes in a food processor unless you like eating wallpaper paste), add the Roquefort and enough cream to leave a light mousse texture. Season.
3. When your braise is ready, take out of the oven and set aside the meat. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve, or better yet some muslin cloth, and the reduce down to a few table spoons worth. You want this sticky and packing a massive punch. Do not season it until right at the end or it will also get overpoweringly salty.
4. Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil for a few minutes, season and the hit with a dash of white wine or cider vinegar to make a very light vinaigrette. Keep warm.
5. Reheat the potato, and now put the short ribs back in the pan with your sauce to reheat and glaze.
6. Plate, and bask in all that is well with the world.