3 strips of bacon, diced
2 lb boneless beef short ribs
Flour for dusting
Olive oil for searing
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium beef stock
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½ cup water
½ cup brandy
? cup sugar
2 pieces of multigrain bread
8 oz fontina cheese, grated or sliced
For the Short Ribs:
Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large dutch oven, crisp the bacon. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
To the drippings, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dry the short ribs well with paper towels and then season with salt and pepper. Sear the short ribs in the hot oil, in batches, until browned on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and carrots. Sauté for 10 minutes, or until soft. Return the browned beef to the pot and sprinkle the flour evenly over the meat and veggies. Toss to coat and then place the pot, uncovered, in the hot oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and then return to the oven for another 4 minutes - this step creates a deeply flavorful crust on the meat – don't skip it!.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Return the pot to the stove over medium heat and add the garlic, tomato paste, and herbs. Add the wine and the beef stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom the pan frequently. Add the bay leaf and crisped bacon, cover the pot, and return to the oven. Roast for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is falling apart.
Remove the meat from the liquid and allow it to rest for a few minutes before shredding with two forks. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer on the stovetop, skimming off any excess fat. The sauce will thicken and become glossy. Toss the shredded beef with about ? cup of the sauce – you want it to be well moistened but not overly wet.
For the Jam:
While the beef is braising, bring the water, brandy, sugar, and bacon to a simmer in a small sauce pot. Cook for a couple minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool so that the figs steep and soften. Process the mixture in a food processor until mostly smooth. Allow to cool completely - it will thicken as it cools.
To Assemble the Sandwiches:
Spread some of the jam onto a slice of bread and top with a layer of short rib and the cheese. Place another piece of bread on top. Then toast it in the oven or put it in a panini press or slowly brown in butter in a skillet on top of the stove. They are ready when the cheese is oozy. Slice in half and serve while warm.)