Recipe: braised beef short ribs
I am so boned. No. Really.
It all started with the ginormous dump of snow that fell on our house starting Thursday night. The storm didn’t let up until Saturday afternoon. We lost power several times on Friday (I think people in Kansas could hear me scream when I lost all of my work on the computer for the second time in an hour – time to get a UPS) and then it was out Friday night through much of Saturday. Bored? Nah – we had about four feet of heavy, wet snow to shovel into 7-foot walls lining our driveway. That should be a sport – shoveling and throwing heavy snow over a 7-foot barrier. We were running out of places to put the snow.
kaweah was so frolicky and happy
That picture was “early” on in the shoveling phase (the handsome man there is about 6 feet tall). With no power in the house and lots of snow shoveling, my mind wandered and I began to think that perhaps I should grab my desired usernames on Twitter before someone else does – not because I have a desire to tweet (I don’t even like talking on the phone), but because I am a paranoid twit. After our power returned, I registered a couple of accounts. Wacky hijinx ensued (thanks Diane, love ya, girl!), but you can now follow
With this enormous mantle of snow upon us, I’m rather pleased that I decided to make one last cold weather dish before moving on (hopefully with the weather) to spring recipes. I was flipping back through several old issues of Fine Cooking and came across this gem.
herbs and spices
stuffed into a sachet about three times smaller than called for
Start the day before for maximum awesomeness. Orange peel, garlic, cloves, smashed allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves, and thyme were tossed in with a bottle of red wine (perfect use for a 2 buck Chuck) and set to boil for a few minutes. The house smelled great.
empty the bottle into a saucepan
get the short ribs ready
So a few posts back I complained that the butcher at Safeway didn’t know the difference between English-style and flanken-style short ribs. I made a second trip to Whole Foods and purchased some gorgeous short ribs there. In total, I came home with six pounds of short ribs, but after trimming huge slabs of fat (per the recipe) I was down to five pounds.
marinate the ribs up to 24 hours
Once the wine cooled, I piled the ribs into a gallon-size ziploc and poured the wine and sachet in. I had a big drippy saucepan in my hand, so I went to set it in the sink. Bad move. As I returned to the ziploc, I saw it slowly tilting over. I lunged for it, but not before a cup of wine spilled onto the carpet, my tripod, and me. That’s not part of the recipe – don’t do that.
pan sear those beauties
sauté the mirepoix with the fond
After marinating for 24 hours, I removed the ribs (reserving the liquid) and patted them dry. Pan searing the ribs on all sides brought Kaweah into the kitchen as if she were in a dream. The fond (those lovely browned bits) are highly desirable. Once the ribs were removed from the pan, I sautéed the mirepoix with the fond and then added the various liquids and seasonings: wine marinade, broth, tomato paste, vinegar.
i could dive right into that
arrange the ribs and the sachet in the liquid
When the sauce had thickened, I placed the ribs in a single layer (as best as I could) in the pot. The instructions said to crumple a large piece of parchment and then smooth it out and set it just touching the ribs. I hadn’t ever done that before, but I was game. With the lid set atop the pot, it went into the oven for 2.5 hours. I actually let it sit in the oven for 3 hours and then on the stove for another 30 minutes. Would a crock pot work just as well? I wonder.
place the parchment down into the pot
The short ribs were falling-off-the-bone tender and the flavor was heady and rich. I loved this recipe. I think it would be a fantastic dish to serve dinner guests in winter. Something to keep in my library of *wow* home-style meals. I just love a good slow-cooked dish. Totally worth the effort (but maybe not worth having to wash out the rug).
don’t forget the sauce
Red Wine Marinated Braised Short Ribs
Fine Cooking issue #77
2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 large sprigs thyme
2 strips orange zest (1-inch by 3-4 inches)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp allspice berries, coarsely crushed
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
1 750ml bottle hearty, dry red wine
4-5 lbs. meaty bone-in beef short ribs (English style)
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, more as needed
3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps tomato paste
2 cups homemade or low-salt beef or chicken broth
2 tbsps red wine vinegar, more to taste
Marinate the ribs: place the garlic, thyme, orange zest, bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns, and cloves in a sachet and tie closed with twine. Pour the wine into a medium saucepan with the sachet and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool. Trim excess fat from the top of each rib down to first layer of meat. Don’t remove connective tissue. Place ribs in a ziploc bag or a dish large enough to hold them in a single layer and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Pour the marinade and sachet over the ribs. Cover with plastic wrap (or seal the bag) and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Turn the ribs a few times.
Cook the ribs: Remove the ribs from the marinade and pat dry. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or large heavy pot with lid over medium heat until hot. Add the ribs in single layer with enough room to avoid steaming and sear until nicely browned on all sides (3-4 minutes a side) using tongs to turn them over. Do this until they are all seared. Remove the ribs to a plate and drain off any fat from the pan (there was almost none in my pan) and add one more tablespoon of olive oil to the pan on medium heat. Sauté the vegetables (onion, celery, carrots) and season with salt and pepper until slightly browned (about 8 minutes). Stir in the tomato paste and half of the marinade, raising the heat to high. Try scraping up bits of fond from the bottom of the pan and reduce the liquid to about half (2-4 minutes). Add the rest of the marinade and reduce by half. Add the broth and vinegar, boiling for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 300°F. Place the ribs in the pot in a single layer along with any juices and the sachet. Crumple a large sheet of parchment and then smooth it out. Place it over the pot and press it down so that it just touches the ribs. Smooth out any overhang allowing it to extend up and over the edge of the pot. Set the lid on top and place the pot in the oven. Braise, turning the ribs with tongs every 45 minutes, until meat is fork-tender and pulling away at the bones. Transfer to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm.
The sauce: Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a vessel, pressing liquid out of the solids. Let the liquid cool a little and pour it into a gallon ziploc bag (this is how I did it – they say to spoon the fat off – I hate doing that) and seal. Set a bottom corner of the bag over the vessel and pierce the corner with a sharp knife. Allow the juices to flow into the vessel and then pinch the corner of the bag when only fat remains in the ziploc. Discard the ziploc (hey, it’s my favorite kitchen trick). You can reduce the sauce by simmering over medium-high heat in a saucepan if the flavor isn’t intense enough. Season as needed and spoon over the ribs to serve.