Executive Chef Dino Tsaknis
“One of my favorite dishes during the holidays is bougatsa. It is a Greek custard-filled pastry with filo. It is not traditionally a holiday dessert, but my mom makes it over the holidays and it’s delicious!”
Serves 6 to 8
2 vanilla pods
150g caster (fine) sugar
1 liter whole milk
160g good high-fat butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 box filo dough
Confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon mixture for dusting
Add scraped vanilla pods, vanilla seeds, and sugar to milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
In a pan, melt 30g butter, add the semolina, and toast lightly.
Remove vanilla pods from milk and slowly add the hot milk mixture to the semolina, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat to begin cooling.
Beat all the eggs together and whisk into the semolina mixture until smooth.
Pour semolina mixture into bowl and cover the mixture with plastic wrap directly touching the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a baking sheet. Begin layering the filo, using half the box,lightly brushing softened-to- melted butter between each layer. Pour the semolina mixture on top of the prepared filo, lightly spreading it evenly over the top. Repeat layering the remaining filo with butter.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. When done, let cool and dust with sugar/ cinnamon mixture.
PAIR WITH: 1988 Château Rieussec Sauternes. The wines of Sauternes, in Southwest Bordeaux, are some of the world’s most expensive and acclaimed dessert wines. The Rieussec has an intense spicy complexity and a delicate sweetness that will perfectly complement the vanilla and cinnamon in the dish.
Executive Chef Pedro Avila
Tamarind-Braised Short Rib
Serves 6 to 8
Slab of 8 beef short ribs, about 8 to 10 pounds
4 tbs kosher salt
6 Chile de Arbol hot dried peppers (optional)
1 large white onion, diced 1 large carrot, diced
2 bay leaves
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 cup tamarind paste
2 cups hot water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Season the short ribs generously with kosher salt. Lay them side by side in a large heavy roasting pan. Scatter the Chiles de Arbol, onions, carrots, and bay leaves on top of the meat.
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, wine, brown sugar, and garlic and pour over the short ribs.
In a separate bowl, whisk the tamarind paste and hot water together to dissolve it a little, combine with the vinegar and wine mixture, and pour into the pan. The liquid should come about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the short ribs. Add more water, if necessary.
Cover the pan tightly with foil and then again with a second layer of foil. Transfer the pan to the oven and braise the ribs until the meat falls apart when poked with a fork, 3 1/2 to 4 hours, removing the foil to check that it is tender. Carefully transfer the ribs to a plate, cover, and set aside at room temperature.
Strain the liquid through a fine strainer into a large container. Chill for at least 1 hour so the fat rises to the top and forms a solid chunk. Remove and discard.
In a large, deep skillet over high heat, bring the braising liquid to a boil and reduce to about 4 cups. Return the short ribs to the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the ribs start to glaze, turning them with a pair of tongs so they become glazed and sticky, 25 to 30 minutes. Keep warm. Remove from the heat, pull the meat off the bones, and tear into large chunks and serve.
PAIR WITH: 2009 Domaine
du Vieux Télégraph ‘La Crau’ Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley of France. I really enjoy wines from the Rhône Valley with more rustic or gamey dishes. The fully bodied, juicy fruit flavors of the wines play nicely with the rich flavors of the sauces and marinades, while the rustic tannins and earthy components of the wines help balance the fattiness of the meats.