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Savor & Swirl: From the recipe box of Chef Sean Riggs, AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar

By Diane Pajak

2:39 PM EDT, May 7, 2012

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About Sean Riggs
Chef Sean Riggs grew up in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia and was an athlete during his high school years — not giving much thought or effort to cooking or food in general.

After beginning his university years at the University of Western Ontario, Riggs moved to Maryland to study business at the University of Maryland. It was during this time that Riggs found his passion for cooking during a summer job. He went on to study at The Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute at Anne Arundel Community College. He worked closely with many decorated chefs. He also competed on the school’s culinary team.

Riggs joined AIDA Bistro in 2005 and began his take on classic favorites as well as preparing Italian cuisine.

Riggs believes that fundamentals are the most essential part of cooking, and that is why you can regularly find him at markets, local farms and in the kitchen with his staff making dishes from scratch every day.

Riggs reflects:
One of my great loves is braising -- almost anything -- including lamb, veal and beef. This short rib recipe is a favorite and something I do quite often this time of year.

Braised Short Rib
Beef ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 bones beef short rib (or 4 6-ounce pieces boneless beef short rib, cleaned)
- 1 onion, medium dice
- 2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch rounds
- 4 stalks celery, medium dice
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves whole garlic, peeled
- 15 ounces red wine (Riggs prefers Syrah)
- 16 ounce (1 pint) veal stock (may substitute low-sodium beef broth)
- 1 cup marinara (may substitute other basic tomato sauces, not chopped or paste tomatoes)
- Kosher salt (as needed)
- Black pepper (as needed)

Directions:
1. Set oven to 250-275 degrees F
2. In the Dutch oven, begin by bringing your pot up to high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and add the meat, which has been lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown the meat on both sides and temporarily remove to a plate. Maintain high heat for steps 2-4 to caramelize the vegetables, reduce the wine and bring the braising liquid to a boil.
3. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic, and lightly sauté about 3 minutes.
4. Add the red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and reduce the wine by half.
5. Add the stock/broth and tomato product.
6. Add the remaining aromatic herbs and peppercorns.
7. Return meat to the pot so that it is just covered by braising liquid.
8. Reduce heat and bring contents to a simmer.
9. Cover with lid or foil and place in preheated oven.
10. Check every 30 minutes. When checking you want to see a very light simmer; if not, adjust temperature accordingly.
11. Time may vary slightly on completion, but plan for 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours in the oven. Short ribs should be easy to pull apart and almost fall apart on their own.

Sauce ingredients:
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 ounces cold whole butter
- 2 cups of the cooking liquid used for the beef (strained through a fine mesh strainer and fat skimmed from the top)
- Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Add 2 tablespoons oil to a hot sauté pan and add mushrooms.
2. Add 2 cups of the strained cooking liquid to the mushrooms.
3. Bring to a boil and reduce for 2 minutes.
4. Turn off heat and stir in butter; this will help thicken the sauce.
5. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve with any style of potatoes, rice or vegetables.

Equipment requirements
7.5-quart heavy-bottom pot; i.e., French oven, Dutch oven
Meat fork and tongs
Wooden spoon
10-inch sauté pan

Zenaida Syrah from Paso Robles, Calif.
We like the Zenaida Syrah, a full-bodied wine with rich fruit and white pepper. This selection complements the hearty flavors of this dish, and a like wine (Syrah or Shiraz) is used to braise the meat.

About AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar
6741 Columbia Gateway Drive
410-953-0500
www.aidabistro.com

Lunch: Monday to Friday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Dinner: Monday to Thursday 5-10 p.m. (kitchen closes at 9 p.m.)
Friday to Saturday 5-11 p.m.