Kitchen confidential: Matthew Hart, The Local


Matthew Hart with his short ribs

The secret to great cooking is...  great ingredients. A lot of people spend a lot of time making it look fantastic, but if what you're starting with isn't the best, it's not going to turn out well. 


The secret to success in the restaurant business is... letting your customers know they're appreciated with lovingly prepared food and taking care of them in a warm and hospitable way.

The secret to making The Local's short ribs is...  the stock. Veal stock is best, but if you can't find beef stock that isn't canned, just double the chicken stock to 4 cups. There's a big difference in the flavor of canned beef stock and the real thing. 


 The Local's short ribs

4 ½ pounds Beef Short Ribs

1 bottle of red wine (750 ml) 

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups beef or light veal stock

½ bunch of fresh thyme

1 head of garlic, sliced

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped

5 oz white pearl onions

5 oz red pearl onions

6 yukon gold potatoes


Canola or grapeseed oil

Salt and pepper


3 bay leaves

6 peppercorns


Season the Short Ribs with Salt and Pepper.  Lightly dust the ribs with flour.

Brown the short ribs on all sides in canola oil.

After all the ribs have been evenly browned, pour off the excess fat and add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic to the pan.

Saute briefly and then add the red wine to the pan, scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the pan during the browning process.

When the wine has reduced by about half and no longer smells of alcohol add the chicken and beef/veal stock to the pan. Bring to a boil.

If using enameled cast iron, return the ribs to the pot with the liquid.  If using a baking dish, put the ribs into the pan and pour the liquid over the short ribs.  The liquid should almost, but not completely cover the ribs.  

Add the sprigs of fresh thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns to the dish.

Cover tightly and put in an oven preheated to 315 degrees for about 3 hours.  The Short Ribs may take a little longer or a little less time.  They are done when the meat is very tender, but not falling apart. (The recipe can be prepared to this point a day or two in advance.  In fact it is easier to get a completely grease-free sauce if it is prepared in advance and the fat has a chance to separate).

Remove the ribs from the baking dish and strain the sauce into a saucepan.  Meanwhile put a pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.

As the sauce simmers and reduces skim any fat and scum that rises to the top. Be diligent with this step as it will make a big difference in the final dishes appearance.

Blanch the potatoes, baby carrots, and pearl onions in the boiling water.  Peel the onions.

Reduce the sauce by about half.  You will know it is done when it has thickened and taken on a nice, sauce like consistency. 

Add the potatoes, carrots, and pearl onions to the sauce, turn off the heat, and add around 4 tablespoons of butter to the sauce, one tablespoon at a time.  Stir continuously and add the next tablespoon of butter when the previous one has been incorporated.

Place the Short Ribs on serving plates and ladle the sauce and vegetables over the top, making sure to divide the vegetables as evenly as possible.  Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and chopped parsley and enjoy. 



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1 comment

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