At-Home Chef: The Pearl

Short Ribs, Tall Flavor

For Pearl chef Peter Chapman, filet mignon is the meat world’s naked emperor; he’s not afraid to point a finger at the popular cut and proclaim, “You…you have no flavor!”

Instead, it’s the secondary cuts, the forgotten marbled slabs that lure Chapman’s talents. “They have more flavor, more interest,” he explained. “This short rib, if you braise it, it breaks down and shreds. It’s easy to make it at home – just go low and slow.”

A down-to-earth, homey dish, the short rib looks like simple stew meat and vegetables; however, the addition of fresh-grated horseradish on the potatoes and the concentrated flavor of the sauce adds depth to the meal.

Beer Braised Short Rib
4 short ribs, 10 oz. each

1 cup drinkable red wine

4 oz .tomato paste

8 oz. carrots, peeled and sliced small

8 oz. onion, diced small

4 oz. celery, sliced small

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

4 oz. dark beer

1 gallon chicken stock – 1 gallon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Canola oil, as needed

Salt, as needed

Sugar, as needed

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat a large, oven-safe, pan – a Dutch oven would be great – on medium high heat and add a thin layer of oil. Season outside of short ribs with salt and place in pan. Let the ribs cook for four-to-six minutes on the first side, until color is very dark brown. Flip the short ribs and do the same to the other side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add celery, onion, and carrot and brown. (Put the veggies in a single layer to promote browning, cooking the veggies in batches if necessary.) Remove vegetables when carmelized and reserve.

Lower heat and add tomato paste. Keeping the tomato paste moving, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, making sure to add a little canola oil to the paste if it becomes sticky. When the paste turns a dark brown, add the red wine and cook until tomato and wine are syrupy. Be sure to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan while the wine is cooking. Add all the remaining ingredients, the reserved vegetables and the ribs, and bring to a simmer. Tightly cover the pan and place in the oven. If your pan doesn’t have a cover, you can wrap it in plastic first, and then foil.

Cook at 300 for four hours. Make sure to test the doneness of the meat before you remove it and don’t be afraid to put it back in the oven for a while. The meat should be soft and falling from the bone. When the braise is done, drain off half of the liquid and strain it through a fine mesh strainer. Allow the ribs to rest in the remaining liquid. Let the strained liquid sit until the fat rises to the top – it will be shiny and separate itself on its own. Using a ladle, carefully skim off this fatty layer. Pour the de-fatted liquid into a small saucepan and place over medium heat.

2 cups carrots, julienne

2 cups parsnips, julienne

2 cups rudabaga, julienne

1 cup Brussels sprouts leaves, blanched

4 ounces pearl onions

Water, as needed

Butter, as needed

Sugar, as needed

Salt, as needed

Canola oil, as needed

Place carrots in a pan with water just to cover; add one tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of sugar. Repeat the process for parsnips and rudabaga. Cook each on high heat to evaporate the water and glaze the vegetables with the butter, sugar, and salt. Different pans will need different amounts of water; if the vegetable is done before the water evaporates take the vegetables out and continue cooking until the water evaporates and then toss the vegetables in the remaining syrup. Heat a pan on medium high and add a small amount of canola oil. Toss in onions and allow to brown on one side before tossing. Continue cooking until browned on all sides, adding water as necessary to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Season with salt. Toss all vegetables together.

1 pound Yukon potatoes, peeled

Water, as needed

Salt, as needed

4 oz. cream

4 oz. butter, room temperature

White pepper, as needed

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water, season with salt. Cook on high heat until tender. Place potatoes in a food mill and press through. If you do not have a food mill, simply mash the potatoes. While mashing, gently warm the cream. Add warm cream and butter. Fold all together with a rubber spatula until incorporated. Season with salt and white pepper.

Fresh horseradish, cleaned Sea salt, as needed

Right before serving the dish, grate desired amount of fresh horseradish into the mashed potatoes, adding more cream as necessary to keep the potatoes loose. Place potatoes in the center of the plate. Remove short ribs from the liquid they were resting in and place them on several paper towels in order to drain. Place the meat on the mashed potatoes. Spoon sauce over the meat. Place vegetables over the back corner of the short rib so that they spill over the side and around the plate. Liberally grate horseradish over the short rib to garnish and season with sea salt.

Meet the Chef
The Pearl, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ first new concept since the meatballin’ Marcella’s rolled onto the scene in ’07, was a smash before it even opened its Short North doors. Serving from the tavern menu for just over four months, the gastro pub and oyster bar claimed the Best New Restaurant title in this year’s ColumBEST bout (see page 50).

Chef Peter Chapman lords over all the bustle and scene, making sure each dish is pitch-perfect, each oyster, plump and happily bathing in its own liquor.

Chapman is constantly asked for recipes but believes in teaching one to fish.

“People need to stop reading recipes and just learn the classical techniques,” he explained. “If you know the techniques, you can cook anything – you’ll cook as good as I do.”

Chapman, a Cleveland native, joined the Columbus State Culinary program after a two-year stint at OSU, and found his first kitchen family while working at the late, great Tapatio.

“It was my first real job,” he recalled. “It was the first time it felt like family – Anne Hildreth (widow of Tapatio chef Bruce Hildreth) was in the other night and she welled up in tears. She was so proud that someone who came out of Bruce’s kitchen had found such success. That’s the kind of place it was.”

When Tapatio closed, chef knew he wanted to find that connection again, but didn’t know where to look. A mentor from Columbus State told him to check out M. “That was the ’90s, you know, Kurt Cobain and the whole ‘big corporations are uncaring’,” said Chapman. “Cameron Mitchell – the evil empire, I mean, even Bruce thought that way.” While M did not have any spots, Martini did and Chapman found another mentor in executive chef Ian Rough. That was nine years ago; Chapman has been with the company since. CMR turned out not to be the evil empire, but the open-armed one. “I could never work for another company; I found that family feeling here. When people work here, they are here forever.”

May 1, 2013
Kimberly Stolz
614 Columbus
Read the article online