The former Passion 8 Bistro of Fort Mills, SC – a restaurant that has received high acclaim both locally and nationally – has now relocated to Charlottes popular Elizabeth Avenue, also known to many as Eat Street. Passion 8 Fine Dining is a beautiful restaurant with a sophisticated aesthetic and ambiance matched only by the culinary talents of their Chef Luca. Bon vivants in the Queen City should be very excited for this infusion of passion and artistry into uptowns food scene. There is no doubt that Passion 8 and Luca will raise the epicurean bar, and raise it very high. Luca has so kindly shared one of his most popular recipes with QC Exclusive. Passion 8 Braised Short Rib is a simple yet sophisticated dish featuring a tender local short rib by Hickory Nut Gap braised in ginger, served with delicious accompaniments of wilted greens, whipped potatoes, and Earl Gray apple.
6 Hickory Nut Gap farm bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 pounds)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 and a half cups tomato paste
2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
2 cups water or beef stock
1 bunch fresh thyme
Rosemary tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves
Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Do not overcrowd the pan. Feel free to cook in batches if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
While the short ribs are browning, mirepoix all the vegetables and garlic. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.
Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or beef stock until the liquid has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more stock, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.
For a ginger flavor blend fresh ginger and water and add that to the braising liquid reduction.
For more info, visit www.thepassion8.com.