Friday, January 11, 2013

Colicchio's Braised Short Ribs

Short rib, I love you.  You are so humble, yet so decadent.  You might be small, but you pack a massive amount of flavor.  You aren't expensive, yet you taste like a million bucks.  You take some time to prepare, but you don't command a lot of attention.  You are the most perfect winter Sunday dinner.  For us, anyway.  Maybe you work on the weekend.  Then maybe for you it'll be the most perfect Monday or Tuesday dinner. 

We've been here before, but this is a little variation on the old recipe.  As the title states, this is Tom Colicchio's recipe for braised short ribs.  If you're a fan of Top Chef, maybe you have heard of him.  I have had the fortune to eat in his flagship restaurant in Manhattan, Craft.  One of the best dining experiences we've had.  Everything was simple, but it was perfect.

Most often, you will find short ribs at your preferred grocery emporium or butcher cut crosswise, into little squares.  Colicchio calls for flanken-cut short ribs, which are cut parallel to the bone and are longer, like a beef or pork rib.  I don't think it makes much of a difference, so get whatever you like.  If this were served in one of his restaurants, they would braise fresh vegetables instead of serving the veg braised with the meat and wine.  I don't find the twice-used veg offensive, in fact they're quite yummy, and not reduced to mush as you might think.  

Colicchio's Braised Short Ribs
 2 servings

2 TB canola oil
4 large short ribs,  cut (typically) English style, or 6  ribs cut flanken style.
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large or 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 750ml bottle dry red wine, i.e. cabernet, syrah, or zinfandel.  None of that stinkin' merlot.
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 C chicken stock, homemade preferred
sliced and roasted mushroom and onion, optional
mashed potatoes, recommended

In your big ass cast-iron dutch oven or large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering.  With the short ribs at room temperature, season on all sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Sear on both sides until nicely browned and crusty, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a shallow baking dish and turn down the heat to medium.  Add the carrot first, cook for a minute, stirring.  Bring in the onion, garlic and celery next and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Add the wine and scrape up any fond on the bottom of the skillet, then toss in the thyme sprigs.  Turn up the heat to bring to a boil, then pour the hot marinade over the ribs and let cool.  Cover and park in the fridge for about 12 hours, turning the ribs once if you want to get up in the middle of the night, I skipped that step.

Fire up the oven to 350F.  Place the ribs meat-side down in that big ass cast-iron dutch oven.  Pour the marinade over and add the chicken stock to the party.  The bones should just be covered by the liquid.  Bring to a boil over high heat on the stovetop, then transfer to the lower third of the oven and cook for 90 minutes.  Uncover and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by about half.

Fire up the broiler to high.  Transfer the meat to a clean, shallow baking dish.  Remove the bones, they should fall or slip out easily.  Strain the sauce, you should have about 2 C. Reserve the vegetables if desired.  Pour over the meat  and place under the broiler for about 10 minutes, turning the meat once or twice, until nicely glazed and delicious.

Plate up some mashed taters, then the meat, add the braised vegetables if using, top with additional roasted veg if you like.  Serve with plenty of the braising liquid.  Save/freeze the leftover liquid, there should be 1 C or more....that will be a super tasty addition to making a pan sauce for a steak, poured over a baked tater, or used for any type of gravy when you need a shot of awesome flavor. 

Short ribs, after reducing the braising liquid

Short ribs, on a bed of mashed potato and surrounded by the most delicious sauce you could imagine

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