Growing up my favorite day of the week was Sundays because it was family day. Family day was always important in my house because other than holidays that was the only day my dad stayed home from work. Sunday dinners were always the best dinners of the week (sorry mom) and I’m not sure if it was because my mom cooked better on Sunday or if it was because my whole family was together. We would sit around the table talking, laughing, sometimes crying and always drinking wine ( when we were old enough.)
Over the years with my growing interest in cooking I would start helping my mom with cooking also because that would mean I didn’t have to do dishes when we were done eating. I learned so many family recipes and always enjoyed some healthy criticism from my picky eating sisters and dad.
Last week I was sitting in my fathers office, writing bills, when I was telling him what I wanted for dinner on Sunday. I was telling him I wanted beef stew with mashed potatoes and he suggested short ribs with the homemade hilopites he brought from Greece. [Hilopites is a Greek egg noodle cut into small squares, usually used in traditional Greek cooking for stews.] I was ecstatic because I knew I could accomplish that dinner on my own and because short ribs are delicious. All excited, I called my mom and told her that on Sunday I was going to cook dinner to which she replied I thought we were going out to celebrate. Naturally I was confused, she told me that her and my father in the morning had made plans for the family to go out on Sunday to celebrate their anniversary, and my mother and my sisters birthday. So I gave her the choice and she decided dinner at home was probably best.
Sunday morning I woke up bright and early and headed out to get what I needed for dinner. I went to my favorite in town butcher shop and bought 6.5 pounds of short ribs. $50. I then went to the Green market and got some tomatoes, butternut squash, Spanish onions, carrots, and some beef broth. The rest of the ingredients needed I already had at home. $22. Next up my favorite wine shop for some red wine. I already had the red wine I was going to cook with, I needed a wine for the table. Two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina.$20. Total spent on dinner $92. Not bad, considering 7 were going to eat. Roughly, $13 dollars a plate.
Cooking time! I seasoned my meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder and some oregano ( traditional Greek seasoning) and seared it all. While searing I prepped my veggies, sliced the onions and diced the carrots and shredded the tomatoes (almost like sauce). Once all the meat was seared and put into the baking pan next up I sweated my onions and carrots with some chapped garlic and bay leaves. Next I deglazed the pan with 2 cups of red burgundy wine. Once the wine reduced a bit and the alcohol was cooked out I added the tomatoes, a few tablespoons of tomato paste and the beef broth. Once the liquid came to a boil I poured it over the meat, covered with aluminum and placed it in a 350 degree oven for 2.5 hours and then raised the heat to 400 degrees for another 45 minutes. Result, fall off the bone, melt in your mouth meat. But I wasn’t done.
While my meat was in the oven I diced up my butternut squash added some olive oil salt pepper and garlic tossed it all together and put it on a baking sheet. When I changed the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees the butternut squash went in.
I removed and placed the meat on a platter. Next up hilopites. I strained the juice/ liquid into a soup pot and skimmed off the oil. The veggies went into a blender and then back into the skimmed broth. I added a cup of water and let it come to a boil. Once boiling I added about a cup and half of hilopites and let that cook for about 20 minutes, (They cook the same way rice does.) Stirring constantly I don’t want any sticking to the pot. I put my finished hilopites in a bowl, the butternut squash in a different bowl, set the table opened the wine, Its time for dinner.
I was very proud of my dinner on Sunday. I think this is the first time my dad completely complimented my food and it was extremely rewarding. My sisters and soon to be brother in law also really enjoyed the food. And no food was left over, SCORE! Even though my life is hectic working full time and going to school full time I must say I live for my Sunday dinners with my family.