The Last Bite — Fall’s Don’t-Miss Dish in Edible Santa Barbara Magazine
Want the Braised Short Rib recipe? Get it here.
When cold weather rolls around in the Santa Ynez Valley, we start to crave comfort food. We want slow cooked and braised meats, long-simmered vegetables, rich sauces…like Grandma used to make. Chef Nathan Peitso, up in Solvang from Los Angeles, created this “elevated pot roast” at the now-shuttered Sear Steakhouse.
Los Angeles Chef in Solvang, California
Peitso is a new Santa Ynez Valley resident, a second-generation farmer from Ventura County, and a farm-to-table restaurateur (formerly in Los Angeles). For Peitso, “farm” is a way of life: his mother was part of the early movement, supplying greens to Alice Waters, and has now added growing and milling local wheat and polenta to the farm. In addition to his family’s products from Roan Mills and Kenter Canyon, Peitso is sourcing from local SYV and Santa Barbara County producers.
Peitso prefers the character and flavors of products that come from small farms, and he also loves the sense of terroir that comes with food grown so close to the restaurant. For the beef ribs, he sources from Santa Barbara Meat Co. at Pork Palace. “You can taste the terroir, the grasslands here in Santa Barbara County,” he says. “There is more minerality and more beefy flavor, plus the animals are treated well and fed no hormones, which all contribute to the taste. It’s perfect for slow and low roasts like this.”
Santa Barbara Meat Co. offers pork, beef, lamb, goat, eggs, and offals, all raised on Pork Palace farm’s 40 acres of grassy hills in the Santa Ynez Mountains in Gaviota. (Find them at the Santa Barbara and Goleta Farmers Markets, or online with local pick-up spots.)
You’ll see plenty of local meats on Sear’s menu, reinvented classic steakhouse items, more Santa Barbara seafood, and creative spins on vegetable dishes. His goal is a casual, friends-and-family joint with elevated quality food. “I cook food that I would want to eat myself every day.” Peitso says. “And I want to give people what they want.” He’s taking his time, listening and learning what people want from the restaurant. For now, Sear is open 6 days a week for dinner with a full bar and lots of comfort food, perfect for Fall holidays. Watch for new menus, future breakfast/lunch options and more from this new SYV local.
Braised Short Rib with Vegetables Recipe
Want the full recipe? Get and print it here.
To make the short rib, start with the best quality beef ribs you can find. Peitso uses a large cut, called a dino rib, in sections of 3-4 ribs (using bone-out ribs also works.) Trim away the gristle and membrane and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat olive or cooking oil over high heat. When very hot, sear all sides of rib rack until browned. Add coarsely chopped red onion, carrots and garlic and some oregano. Add beef stock to almost cover the meat. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 4 hours.
Roast all vegetables at 350 degrees, separately, after being tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. 5 whole carrots (35 mins), 2 red onions cut in sections (25 mins), shitake mushrooms quartered (15 mins) and tomatoes or any fall vegetables/squash cut in sections (20-30 mins). Make polenta using half cream, half veggie stock for liquid, adding parmesan cheese at the end. Toss finished vegetables in braising liquid.
Meat is done when fork can easily pierce and twist in the meat; cook longer if desired. Place polenta on plate, top with 1 rib, add vegetables and more braising sauce and garnish with chives.