"You'd usually get a can of cream of mushroom soup and then tough pieces of meat with overcooked pasta. Kind of went the other direction with that, slow-braising short ribs and glazing them with sherry and a little bit of the actual braising liquid," said Cameron Magee, the Chef at Bavette's.
Magee also enriches a horseradish cream sauce with fresh herbs.
"Chives, tarragon and parsley mix; pinch of chili flake," he said.
Handmade pasta is briefly cooked, just until tender, then added to the cream. That combination will eventually serve as a starchy, flavor-jammed base for the exceedingly rich and tender braised short ribs and braising liquid
Another wintery option is the slow-braised veal cheeks; an underused cut, to be sure, but nonetheless tender when cooked properly.
"It's an amazing cut. Braised right it's very tender; it's very much like short ribs but it's got a little more fat in it," Magee said. "It almost plays on an osso bucco, rather than using a shank it's a little approachable to use."
This time, not only are parsley, chive and tarragon used to flavor the pan, so is a spoonful of rich foie gras - that's fattened duck liver - which melts into the sauce.
"So I thought it'd be a great attribute just to mount the sauce with; plus it's very fragrant so it doesn't take a whole lot in order for you to really perfume off the plate…the flavor profile, it's a little more delicate," he said.
Paired with the veal cheeks: sturdy root vegetables, including carrots, plus cippolini onions.
"They glaze really well so it almost tastes like they've been braised with the actual liquid and they pick up that flavor; so you have a little bit of sweet, little salty and also the red wine," said Magee. "Warms you up as it warms the soul as well on a cold day."
Bavette's Bar and Boeuf
218 W. Kinzie