Friday, February 26, 2010

Gnocchi Party: Braised Beef Short Ribs Adobo on Potato Gnocchi

I can’t remember who initiated the International Gnocchi Party but teaming up with Penny and Christine while inviting more food bloggers to join this "get-together" is such a great idea. Penny did a survey about the theme of the party: flavor, color or words. Flavor received half of the percentage and Penny chose umami flavor as the theme for this party.

Here’s the guest list with Penny as your host the gnocchi party and check out their other gnocchi creations.
The first time I made gnocchi was in college and although I was able to form, shape and cook the gnocchi correctly, I think my family was only forced to eat it. Today, I’m not forcing them to eat anymore but gnocchi is still not one of their favorite foods to eat.

If you don't have a potato ricer, you can pass the potatoes through a fine strainer with a wooden spoon. Just make sure the potatoes are hot.

I usually add egg yolk to my cooked potatoes, but for this post, I didn’t add any. Although egg yolks act as a binding agent, it also leaves the gnocchi a different bouncy quality. Making gnocchi without egg yolks can be very tricky and sometimes frustrating. The dough is quite delicate to handle and the worst part is, your gnocchi could break apart while they’re cooking. It takes a lot of practice and persistence. But it’s an optional step. With or without egg yolks, this gnocchi dish is still fantastic with my umami adobo.

While thinking for an umami ingredient to go with it, I was planning to add ground dried mushroom to my cooked potatoes. But since most of the dried mushrooms at home are huge and my spice grinder is not apt for that challenge, I decided to keep my potato gnocchi plain. Another umami idea is to pair it with a beef ragu cooked with tomato sauce and beef stock. But that day, I was having beef adobo for lunch and I just have this wonderful feeling that they would go well together.

Adobo as you all know is a quintessential Filipino comfort food and is considered as a national dish of the Philippines. Every home in the Philippines has their own adobo version and would claim that it’s the best adobo in the country or even the world. Adobo’s main flavors are soy sauce, vinegar and garlic and thousands of variations exist and it can be applied to seafood, meats or vegetables but the most common adobo are made with chicken, pork and kangkong (water spinach).

This beef adobo is definitely better with beef short ribs. Hands down!

This adobo is made with beef and while you can use any kind of stewing beef, beef short ribs is the best cut of meat to use. You can also play around with what kind of vinegar to use but I will stick with apple cider vinegar, cane vinegar or coconut vinegar for now. The first time I made this, I used about 1 cup of coconut vinegar which was too strong for my family. So, I halved the vinegar amount. If the vinegar is still too strong, just decrease the amount. The soy sauce could be any kind of soy sauce but there’s nothing like Filipino soy sauce for an adobo recipe. Don't be surprised if the adobo is quite salty. Some adobos are meant to be salty and they could last for a week and the flavor gets better and better every single day.

Braised Beef Short Ribs Adobo on Potato Gnocchi

Make 8-10 servings

Basic Potato Gnocchi (procedure from Rouxbe Online Cooking School)

3.5 lbs potatoes (about 1.6kg)
2-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
freshly grated nutmeg
unrefined sea salt
freshly ground white pepper

To start the gnocchi, preheat your oven to 400º degrees Fahrenheit. Place the potatoes onto a sheet of foil, add the salt and water, and wrap. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until cooked through.

Peel the potatoes while they are still hot. Cut and rice the potatoes, making sure they don’t pile up in one spot. Let the potatoes cool completely before proceeding.

To make the dough, sprinkle the potatoes with a good amount of flour. Aerate the potatoes with a bench scraper, and then add the salt, nutmeg and white pepper.

Break up the egg yolks and pour them over the potatoes. Cover the surface again with more flour. Continue to cut and gently lift the dough.

Test the dough by squeezing it gently in your hand. It shouldn’t stick. Add a bit more flour, if needed.

Once done, shape the dough into a rectangle and fold it a few times, using your fingertips to bring it together. Flatten the dough out until it is about the thickness of your finger. Sprinkle with flour and let rest about 5 to 10 minutes.

Cut strips of dough, about the width of your finger, and sprinkle with flour so they don’t stick to each other. Roll out each strip and cut the ropes into 3/4 - inch pieces. Separate them slightly, and flour them well, so they don’t stick together.

For a more rustic look, you can leave the gnocchi as is. Shaping the dough makes them look better, and also creates a little pocket to capture the sauce. This can be done with or without a gnocchi paddle.

Once done, sprinkle with flour and cover with a clean dry cloth. Fresh gnocchi can sit at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours before cooking.

You can even freeze gnocchi raw. Just place them onto a tray, making sure they aren’t touching each other. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Cook the gnocchi from frozen and serve with your favorite sauce.

Braised Beef Short Ribs Adobo

1 head garlic

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup fresh, unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup cider, coconut or cane vinegar 
½ cup soy sauce (Filipino brand)
3 bay leaves
2 red bird's chilies (optional)

3 pounds beef short ribs (2½-inch piece, bone-in)
coarse unrefined sea salt

To prepare your mise en place, separate the garlic cloves and peel, and julienne the ginger. Measure the gather the peppercorns, chicken stock, coconut milk, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves and red chilies.

To prepare the beef, pat each piece with paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Heat large stewing pot with lid or a dutch oven to medium high heat. While the pan heats up, lay the beef and season with salt on all sides.

When the pan is properly heated, add the oil. Then sear or brown the beef on all sides. Once browned, add the garlic, peppercorns, chicken stock, coconut milk, coconut vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaf and the chilies.Bring to a gentle boil without stirring, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 1 -½ to 2 hours OR until the meat is very tender. You can also cook this at a 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) preheated oven for 2-3 hours or until the meat is very tender.

When the meat is already tender, remove from the heat. Since adobo is best served the next day, place the pot over an ice bath to cool quickly. Once cool, cover and transfer to the refrigerator overnight.

To reheat the dish the dish, remove first any hardened fat from the surface of the stew. Then, reheat the adobo in the oven at 350 F (175 C) until heated through or the sauce has been reduced. Season to to taste if necessary. 

Assembling the dish

To assemble the dish, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. While the water is boiling, remove the beef adobo from the oven. With slotted spoon, transfer the beef onto a plate. Then, strain the sauce through a strainer into another pan. Cut or break the beef into smaller pieces with a knife or a fork. Add to the sauce. Bring the beef mixture to a lower simmer.

When the water is already boiling, lower the heat slightly. Gently add the gnocchi into the water, stirring to prevent them from sticking. It is advisable to cook them by batch so they have enough room to cook. When the gnocchi floats to the top, gently lift them out with a slotted spoon, allowing the excess water to drain. Transfer the cooked gnocchi into warm individual bowls. Then spoon the beef adobo on top. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Serve immediately.

  • The sauce is usually reduced before adding the meat back but it’s not necessary unless the sauce is too thin. But reducing the adobo liquid would make it very salty. You can thicken the sauce slightly with a slurry (cornstarch/arrowroot and water) instead.
  • You may not use all of the beef adobo as a little bit goes a long way. But leftovers are great for anything such as a grilled sandwich (think of it as pulled pork sandwiches) with fontina cheese, in pastas, turnovers and many others.
  • This dish may sound time-consuming but these two components can be prepared ahead of time. The braised beef adobo only requires a few ingredients and minimal time to prepare.
  • You can remove the lemongrass and the chilies halfway through the cooking time.

You may also like these two other gnocchi dishes that are satiated with deliciousness: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce that I made the other week, and the Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Lemon-Sage Sauce (must-try) from Rouxbe Online Cooking School.


Love and light,

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  1. I've had chicken adobo and I am a huge fan! It is so delicious. Imagine that beef adobo is just as good too. Great job on the gnocchi

  2. D, i was thinking of cooking adobo kasi i just bought a 1.5 lit soya sauce (mura kesa sa kikkoman). I will try your beef adobo recipe and ask vito to make gnocchi for me. hehehe. he liked the pork ribs adobo i made last week.

  3. Oh, Divina - That looks absolutely incredible! The beef looks so moist and delicious and the gnocchi like soft little pillows. What a meal!

  4. You again have made me speechless. All the pictures are truly a feast for the eyes. And your beef adobo looks absolutely heavenly!

  5. So nice to see your pretty pictures Divina, great job!

  6. Your gnocchi look professional, no joke. Poppa Trix and I were marveling at them, and he said, "How does she DO that?" That's what I'm wondering!!! Perfecto.

  7. Fantastic! No wonder you needed more time for this dish. It is definitely worth the wait and I am glad you have your camera back in time. Thanks for coming to the party!

  8. Wow! This looks super yummy! Yes, I can definitely imagine how the two would work well together...the supremely flavorful adobo with the pale, soft, startchy gnocchi...MMM! Brilliant!

  9. I may not be a beef eater, but this looks so good! Beautiful gnocchi and beautiful photos too.

    Party! Party!

  10. Wonderful gnocchi, I love your pairing with braised short ribs adobo, fantastic flavors! I need to get the gnocchi board like you have!

  11. Divina these are absolutely GORGEOUS. WOnderful job and it's pictures like these that make me wish even more that we all loved closer!

  12. Divina,
    You're very talented in making gnocchi. They are so beautiful and tempting. You really inspired and encouraged me to take this challenge. I made my first gnocchi that my family enjoyed very much. Thanks so much.

  13. Stunning! Absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing this Divina - your dish is inspired!

  14. Mmm brilliant! I love making asian pastas, but this is the first I've seen gnocchi used like this.

  15. I love the look of your gnocchi... and the additioin of beef adobo is genius. I could taste the gnocchi all drenched with the flavors of adobo... yum!

  16. @ Jessie - thank you. I find the beef is better than the chicken. :)

    @ Hazel - you two make a great team. I think you're eating adobo every week.

    @ Cookin' Canuck - thank a lot Dara.

    @ Angie's Recipes - thank you. :)

    @ Dawn - thank you Dawn. I hope you like them.

    @ Trix - thank you. I've made a lot of gnocchis before. I want to try yours next time.

    @ Penny - thank you. Adobo tastes better two or three days after. Glad to have the camera back on time.

    @ 5 Star Foodie - Thank you. I love using the gnocchi board. It was a gift from my chef instrustor.

    @ Mardi - Thank you. You can actually adopt me if you like. :)

    @ Christine - you're very welcome. Glad to be able to help.

    @ Trissa - Thank you very much Trissa.

    @ Marc - thank you so much Marc.

    @ Skip to Malou - I feel that you could almost taste this dish. And thank you.

    @ Danielle - thank you very much.

  17. Oh gnocchi look absolutely stunning! And the adobo - thanks so much for posting the recipe!

    I'd not heard of coconut vinegar. Does it taste like coconut?

    I've never seen it around Melbourne, but then I haven't looked. Interesting!

  18. Your photography is breathtaking and I don't have to taste that to know it's an awesome combination!

  19. Oh Yum! I have to give this a try, and the gnocchi looks like it goes perfectly with the meat :)

  20. Mmmm....great dish...looks delicious. Yet to try making gnocchi with flour.

  21. @ Mellie - Thanks a lot. There's a slight coconut flavor on the vinegar too but with different flavor profile.

    @ Denise - thank you very much Denise.

    @ Rochelle - thanks Rochelle. They do go well together.

    @ Mary - Thanks a lot. We can make it together. :)

  22. Outstanding! The adobo sauce is a perfect pairing with gentle flavor of your gnocchi - what a brilliant idea to bring them together. And, of course, I really love that board you use to make the ridges. 8-)

  23. You undoubtedly have the professional touch! Adobo has been on my wish list since some time. I must get down to it. Thanks for all the help and encouragement.

  24. what i likje with gnoccchis is taht they absorb the sauce !! cheers from Paris PIerre

  25. I've made braised short ribs, and I've made gnocchi, but I never thought to put them together. Looks like a food coma inducing indulgence if ever I saw one.

  26. wow! who would've tought about putting Italian gnocchi with Filipino adobo? Looks so good together.

  27. I saw your pic on Penny's roundup-wowee it looks so comfortingly good. Love that little wooden press for the indents too-totally pro Divina! :D

  28. What a great idea combining gnocchi with adobo. Very clever! Your gnocchi look so perfect, too. And such stunning photos, babe!

  29. tis looks fabulous Divina!!! a must try for me...tq so much .u have wonderful recipes!

  30. Your gnocchi are absolutely gorgeous! I love chicken adobo; can just imagine how fantastic those flavors would be with the short ribs. Great twist on this dish!

  31. Wonderful - they look so fantastic and fluffy! The beef adobo sounds just like the kind of dish I adore. Mouthwatering!

  32. I just bought beef short ribs this afternoon and will attempt to try this (sans gnocchi for now)...wish me luck!
    BTW, your have a typo here:
    "gnocchi is still not one of their favorite foods to it." -> it = eat

  33. Wow, that looks so beautiful, gorgeous pictures. And the beef adobo sounds delicious.

  34. I adore braised beef with a rich sauce/gravy served with these lovely potato "pillows". Looks decadently good!

  35. It looks lovely. I need to get myself adobo-making.....and as everyone else has said, the photos are right on the money!!!!!1

  36. Divina I have never had Adobo but gosh you make it sound absolutely mouthwatering, what other choice do I have but to make it now? This is really great, your pictures are absolutely phenomenal for this post -- your gnocchi are the best I've seen! They look so delicate -- I have never had gnocchi so now that you and Mary have made it, you two have inspired me to take the plunge and whip up my own batch, hopefully soon! This is really beautiful Divina, I think this is actually my most favorite post you've done :)

  37. Divina, thanks for stopping at my blog and for your comment. I surfed through your blog and must say you got incredible recipes with stunning pictures. I've fallen in love with this dish, and I am drooling looking at it. Looks so delicious and tempting, I've book marked this. Thanks for sharing with us. I will be following you hereafter. Have fun cooking and baking!

  38. Your gnocchi are too beautiful! I was just about to ask how you made those beautiful lines, but I kept scrolling down and saw the answer! What is that wooden thing? :) Beautiful pictures!

  39. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    @ Tiny Urban Kitchen - Thank you. They call it the gnocchi board. It can be done with a fork but I love using the board instead. :)

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