Recipe

Braised short rib grilled cheese with pickled fresno chiles

The most crusty slice of bread, griddled with a generous slathering of butter is the initial formula towards a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. And of course the melty slices of cheese! Taking it to the next level, my umami-packed recipe for braising short ribs, shredding them, and incorporating some of the reduced sauce is an impressive addictive way to use up leftovers from dinner, or simply elevating this American classic. To contrast the richness of the short rib meat, I chose sharp white cheddar, a few leaves of arugula for a peppery bite, and studding the sandwiches with pickled fresno chiles! Swapping jalapeños is okay too, and seed them if you're a bit of a wimp like myself. Makes 6 sandwiches.
1 ¼LBSleftover braised short ribs
1 ½CUPSreduced, pureed sauce from braising liquid
4Xfresno chile peppers, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
½CUPwhite wine vinegar
½CUPwater
1Xgarlic clove
1TBSPNwhole black peppercorns
1TSPNground coriander
1TBSPNsugar
1TBSPNsalt
10OZSsharp white cheddar, sliced
1Xloaf crusty French bread, sliced into 12 pieces
1CUParugula leaves
2TSPNSunsalted butter, softened

For the fresno chiles:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, garlic, peppercorns, coriander, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer. Place the fresno chiles in a nonreactive bowl or a glass jar. Once the vinegar mixture is boiling, turn off the heat, and pour over the fresno chiles. Set them aside to cool and infuse for at least one hour.

For the sandwiches:

  1. Create an assembly line with half of the bread slices. Combine the short ribs with the reduced sauce, and evenly distribute the short ribs onto 6 of the bread slices. 
  2. Place the desired amount of pickled chiles on top of the short rib, then add a few leaves of the arugula. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Set a layer of cheese slices on top of the arugula leaves.
  4. For the remaining 6 slices of bread, spread a thin layer of the softened butter on the outsides of each slice. Top each prepared sandwich, butter side up, with the remaining slices.
  5. Begin to heat a griddle or a saute pan over medium heat. In batches, griddle each sandwich butter side down first for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, spread a little butter on the opposite side of the bread, then flip once golden brown and crispy. Place a lid on top of the sandwiches and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until bread is golden and cheese is melted.
  6. Set sandwiches aside, use a serrated knife to half each sandwich on the bias, and serve immediately!

 

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