Craig Faustus Buck was in the first row, so when I mentioned that I'm always looking for recipes for Dying for Chocolate, he stepped up to the plate! Great cross-promotion on both DyingforChocolate.com and MysteryFanfare.com, not to mention Facebook and Twitter! Plenty of other platforms, too. O.K., social media aside, this is a great chocolate "noir' recipe!
Craig Faustus Buck has written six nonfiction books, two were #1 NYT bestsellers--one pop-psychology the other pop-gynecology. His short film, Overnight Sensation, was nominated for an Academy Award. He was one of the writers on the seminal miniseries V: The Final Battle and wrote the famous episode where The Incredible Hulk dropped acid. His agent is currently shopping his first noir mystery novel, Go Down Hard, First Runner Up for the Claymore Award at Killer Nashville. His novella, Psycho Logic, is due out this month from Stark Raving Group. And his indie feature film, Smuggling for Gandhi, is currently in preproduction.
CRAIG FAUSTUS BUCK:
I cook as I write: noir. This sauce is dark and complex and morally ambivalent, by which I mean I once made a brisket this way for a Passover seder and it was so good no one complained about the pork. The chocolate disappears in this dish and becomes an amazing undercurrent of flavor. It's nothing like the earthy flavor of Mexican mole Poblano. I think this dish appeals to a much broader palate. Even kids love it.
This is also a very forgiving dish. The first time I made it, I put chocolate/cocoa/rosemary in with broth instead of at the end. It worked out just fine. I added a little more chocolate/cocoa/rosemary at the end, but I don't think it made much difference. ou can also use this sauce with any cut of beef that can be braised, though you may have to adjust cooking times, depending. I'd wager this would also be fantastic with lamb or pork shanks, but I haven't tried that yet. For brisket, see my note below.
Craig Faustus Buck's Chocolate Noir Short Ribs
1/4 cup pancetta; diced
6 lb Short Ribs
1 1/2 cup onion; finely chopped
1/4 cup shallots; finely chopped
1/4 cup celery; finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot; peeled
3 clove garlic; minced
2 cup red wine
3 cup chicken broth
2 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp parsley; chopped
1 large sprig fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp bittersweet chocolate; grated or shaved
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder; preferably Dutch process
1 tsp fresh rosemary; finely chopped
1. Heat heavy large pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain.
2. Salt and pepper ribs. Brown in batches in pancetta fat. Remove.
3. Add onions, shallots, celery, carrots and garlic. Reduce heat and cover until vegies are soft.
4. Add wine and boil down until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up brown bits.
5. Add broth, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and pancetta. Return ribs to pot, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
6. Remove ribs. It's best to refrigerate ribs and liquid overnight to skim off all the fat, but if you're in a hurry simply allow to cool and skim.
Uncover and simmer until meat is tender, about another 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer meat to platter, discard bay leaf. Boil sauce until beginning to thicken. Reduce heat to medium and add chocolate, cocoa and rosemary. Stir until chocolate melts. Return ribs to pot to reheat and serve.
Brisket note: If you use brisket, you definitely want to cool overnight in the fridge (step 6). The next day, skim the hardened fat off the top of the liquid, slice the cold brisket, and put it all together in an ovenproof serving dish, being sure to sauce between the slices. Heat for 20 minutes at 350 and go to heaven.
Yield: about 8 servings