Cooking with Harry’s Pizzeria: Short Rib Casserole
“People would show up early. In Miami, that’s quite an accomplishment.”
It takes a lot to surprise Miami chef and restaurateur Michael Schwartz these days. With four restaurants in his portfolio, and a fifth — a more formal room with an old Florida atmosphere called The Cypress Room — just open, he’s a pretty unflappable guy. But Harry’s Pizzeria, the affable, overachieving middle child in his family of restaurants, has the ability to confound expectations — even those of its owner.
Partly opened to provide a more casual and less expensive destination in Miami’s design district, Harry’s has also made its mark as the venue for a hugely popular monthly guest chef pop-up dinner that has brought the likes of Paul Kahan of Chicago’s Publican, Philadelphia’s Marc Vetri and New York’s April Bloomfield to Miami. So eager are ticketholders for these dinners, that they’d show up to the restaurant before the appointed hour- something unheard of in a city that exists in perpetual mañana time.
Not bad for a little pizza joint.
The pizzas that keep the crowds coming on a day to day basis reflect the sensibility Schwartz honed in his flagship restaurant Michael’s Genuine, rather than a bow to pizza orthodoxy. “I wouldn’t classify it as any single style of pizza. "It’s on the thinner side, but with a nice chew in the crust," he says. "I like to do unusual and interesting topping combinations. It’s all in a good place right now. We don’t change the menu that often; it’s not that kind of place, but we do change with the seasons, as ingredients come and go.”
The centerpiece of the restaurant is the wood-fired oven, and more often than not, during the pop-up dinners, that’s just where you’ll find the visiting chef, chatting with guests and keeping an eye on the kitchen, seeing to it that the family style platters are up to snuff before they head out to diners.
The work starts long before food crosses the pass, though. “We invite friends; chefs that have common sensibilities about how we prepare food, and have similar philosophies. We work with them on a menu format that we’ve found has worked; there’s a welcome cocktail that the guest chef inspires or provides a recipe for. Then there will be some passed around snacks, which usually includes a pizza at that point. Then it’s typically four courses, all family style, with lots of sharing going on. Instead of pairing wines or beverages with each course, we just offer a great selection of wines and our Homebrew beer. And that’s all just put on the table for people to pour and pass so it’s a real casual family style thing.”
Recently the restaurant launched brunch service, and along with the full lineup of pizzas, came a slew of more “egg-centric dishes.” One early favorite from Schwarz’s sous chef Manny Sulburan is a casserole of braised short ribs, rice and beans topped with an egg, put in a blazing hot oven until the egg just sets. When it comes out, the rice has formed a bit of a crust at the bottom of the pan — you end up with something like a Miami Bi Bim Bap.
It’s a dish that you’ll want to show up early for, even if your watch is set to mañana time.
While the recipe may look like a lot of work at first glance, the short ribs and beans can be made at the same time, both largely unattended. Both can be made in advance, so come brunch time, you’re only assembling the dishes and baking the eggs.
Short Rib Casserole
- Serves 4-6
- Short ribs:
- 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Large, meaty short ribs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- ½ tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 cups chopped tomato (approx 1 28oz can)
- 1 cups chicken stock
- Red Beans:
- 2 strips of bacon, chopped
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 cup dried red beans
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups cooked white rice
In a small bowl, combine the paprika, ginger, chili powder, garlic, canola oil, salt and pepper; stir thoroughly to combine. Rub the spice mixture all over the short ribs to evenly coat the meat. Transfer the ribs to a large resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight (or up to 24 hours). At the same time, cover the beans with 3 cups of water, and leave to soak overnight as well.
Preheat oven to 300˚F.
Arrange the short ribs in a casserole or deep skillet and cover. Bake for 90 minutes.
While the ribs are in the oven, put a medium saucepan over low heat and add 2tbsp olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the 2 cups of onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute for another 5, then add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Let simmer uncovered until it reduces by half, about an hour.
At the same time, place a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the bacon until crispy. Add the ½ cup of onion, the cumin and bay leaf, and sauté until the onion softens, then add the garlic. Pour in the beans with the soaking liquid. Simmer until tender, about an hour. Add hot water as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
After 90 minutes, pour off some of the fat from the short ribs, and add the tomato-onion mixture to the pan. Cover, and return the short ribs to the oven for another 90 minutes.
Allow the ribs to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill completely in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Remove the short rib meat from bones, pull apart into small pieces, and place back into the sauce.
This can be done up to 3 days in advance.
When you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Combine ½ cup each of of the short ribs, beans and rice in a 6” skillet or casserole. Top it with a cracked egg and bake until the egg just set, about 10 minutes. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and drizzle with olive oil.
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