Sunday Supper: Short Rib, Caramelized Onion, and Gouda Grilled Cheese

20140901-Short-Rib-Gouda-Caramelized-Onion-Grilled-Cheese-Jennifer-Olvera.jpg
Tender short ribs, Gouda, caramelized onions, and a smear of a creamy whole-grain mustard sauce are tucked into slices of buttered, marbled rye for this killer grilled cheese. Jennifer Olvera

Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.

20140901-Short-Rib-Gouda-Caramelized-Onion-Grilled-Cheese-Jennifer-Olvera.jpg
Tender short ribs, Gouda, caramelized onions, and a smear of a creamy whole-grain mustard sauce are tucked into slices of buttered, marbled rye for this killer grilled cheese. Jennifer Olvera

After buying a copy of Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft: Craft a Sandwich into a Meal—And a Meal into a Sandwich, I remember thinking, "Who in their right mind would spend this much time laboring over a sandwich?" But since I'd already paid for the book, I had every intention of finding out.

The answer came quickly: I would. Now I'm a true believer in taking the time—even several hours—to prep delicious components, all in the name of a great, nay, stellar sandwich. My first Colicchio-inspired attempt is this hearty creation with tender short ribs, Gouda cheese, and caramelized onions.

The ribs start out on the bone, and are slow-simmered for hours in red wine and stock, scenting the house along the way. Once the meat is fully tender, I shred it (discarding the bones) and toss it with the braising liquid. While the beef is cooking, I slowly caramelize onions with thyme and just a touch of sugar.

Once those two components are ready, I assemble the sandwiches by layering butterered marbled rye bread slices with thick slices of Gouda cheese, the beef, and onions, along with a bit of mustard sauce, and get ready to cook 'em up.

There are many ways to griddle a sandwich. At my place, I use a George Forman grill, which I love solely for its ability to make hot pressed sandwiches. But a panini press works just as well, or, lacking that, you can also sandwich the sandwiches (yup) between two heavy, preheated skillets and finish them off that way. In short, you're goal is to compress the sandwich as you cook it, so you need a need a weight of some kind to press it down as it cooks.

I also like to turn and flip my sandwich halfway through to help it cook more evenly.

Despite all of the prep work, cooking the assembled sandwiches doesn't take long. They're done when the slices of cheese are melted and the meat and onions are warm. It won't take nearly as long to eat as it is to make, but it's absolutely worth it.