Sunday, November 27, 2011

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

I could get used to not going to work and eating stuffin muffins (leftover stuffing baked in muffin tins) with gravy for breakfast.  Another successful Thanksgiving weekend, the tree is up and decorated, the turkey stock for turkey pot pies and stew has been gently bubbling on the stove all day.  It's the perfect day for stock- cold, windy and rainy...nothing I'd rather be doing than (barely) tending a giant pot of warm liquid, the odor of which currently mixing with the newly-lit Christmas candle, no doubt the TV tuned to the holiday channel.  I guess it really might be the most wonderful time of the year.  It helps that I also have meaty short ribs quietly braising in Cabernet Sauvignon in the oven. 

You want a go-to recipe for braising some meat?  Something delicious to brighten a chilly winter Sunday meal? You want this recipe.  Among other cold weather must haves like this soup and this gratin, these short ribs are on the hot list from Oktoberfest to St. Patty's Day.  They require little attention, just a lazy weekend afternoon with a few bottles of Cabernet.  You'll need a large cast-iron dutch oven with a lid, which is completely different than what my older brother once described to me upon asking what a dutch oven was many years ago.  It was that awkward time between encyclopedias and the interweb, clearly not the information age.  And while I certainly did not think that could be used to assist in cooking, I did learn there was a name for that. 

I like to buy and freeze some beef short ribs when they are on sale (about $4/lb) and just wait for that rainy or snowy day.  Defrost the night before, you could also defrost/marinate in some red wine, that would be extra points...haven't done that yet.

Do not skip the searing step, as that is key to fully develop the dish's flavor.  Some of the newer slow-cookers even have the capability to sear quick and then morph into the typical hot/low heat settings.  Maybe Santa has room left on my list this year? 

Want another winter necessity? Voila.  I like to serve my short ribs with little onions and shrooms, a la Bourguignon. 

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
4-6 servings

5 lb bone in beef short ribs, sbout 4" long
2 large or 3 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 TB AP flour
2 TB tomato paste
1 bottle (750 ml) Cabernet or a hefty Zin
6 large cloves garlic, halved
5 sprigs parlsey
4 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 C low-sodium beef broth
handful mushrooms, sliced
handful cippolini or boiling onions
mashed potatoes, wide noodles, or rice

With your protein at room temperature, fire up the ove to three fifty.  Season the short ribs on all sides liberally with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt.  Working in 2-3 batches as not to overcrowd your pot, oil up the ribs with canola or veggie oil and brown on all sides for 2 minutes over high heat, until a nice crust develops.  Remove the ribs to a plate.

Turn down the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot, and celery, cook for 4-6 minutes, add the garlic for the last couple.  Introduce the paste and flour, stir for two minutes while it thickens and caramelizes to tomato sugars.  Add 1 C wine and scrape up any tasty bits, then add the rest of the wine to the pot.  While you bring this to a boil, prepare an herbal bouquet (use a silicone, rubber band or string) with parsley, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves, add to the pot.  Whatever fresh herbs you have on hand will do.  After reaching a boil, turn down the heat to medium and reduce by about half, 25-30 minutes.

Add the stock and return the ribs, nestling the ribs in so they are covered well.  Put the lid on and park in the center of the oven until the ribs are very tender, about 2.5-3 hrs.  Remove the meat to a plate, strain the sauce into a glass measuring cup, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid.  Let sit for a few until you can spoon off the fat.  Season to taste with S&P, pour over the short ribs accompanied by mashed potatoes, egg noodles, polenta, or rice.  To serve in the style of Bourguignon, par-boil some small onions, then saute in EVOO with some sliced mushrooms.  Plated below boneless with plenty of gravy, parsley, mashed, and a wee glass of Cabernet.

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