Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Meat Has a Delicious, Smoky, Rich Flavor

Braised Short Ribs:
(based on a combination of every recipe for short ribs I've ever read)

olive oil
4 - 6 lbs short ribs - get good, meaty ones (that's what she said), trimmed
1 large onion, rough chop
2 large carrots, peeled, rough chop
2 stalks celery, rough chop
1 head garlic, cut in half (you don't need to peel it)
(above four ingredients = mirepoix)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 c good, dry, red wine
1 small can whole tomatoes (low-sodium), or trimmings from fresh tomatoes (see note)
2/3 qt. beef stock (homemade if you have it, I never do, b/c I don't have 8 hours to boil beef bones, sorry Michael Ruhlman) - also low-sodium
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp. peppercorns

For finishing the sauce:
sea salt and pepper
white vinegar

Dutch Oven (I prefer Le Crueset, in blue, not the crappy Williams-Sonoma blue either, the REAL Le Creuset blue) as seen here:

Wo0den Spoon
Fine mesh strainer (or chinois - to be fancy, hey, wtf? I need to use my French culinary knowledge in some (kind of) legitimate fashion)

1. Heat olive oil in dutch oven.
2. Pat short ribs dry and sear in dutch oven in as many batches as necessary (to keep the pot from being overcrowded). Remove ribs to plate after searing.
3. Add mirepoix to the dutch oven and brown - maybe 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato paste and stir briefly, about 1 minute, until a deep, rust color.
5. Deglaze with red wine (be sure to scrape up the meaty bits on the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon) and reduce by half.
6. Add ribs to pot with any juices that have collected.
7. Add tomatoes, stock, and enough water to almost cover the ribs. Add rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns.
8. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, and skim any foam from the top.
9. Cover, reduce heat, braise for 2 hours, skimming occasionally, or until ribs fall apart easily.
10. Remove ribs to a bowl, cover, keep warm.
11. Strain braising liquid into a small pot and reduce by half over medium heat, until thickened.
12. Taste, adjust seasoning, add vinegar to taste (about 1/2 tsp.).
13. Turn off heat, add two tbsp. butter.
14. Pour sauce over the ribs and serve.

Some tasty accompaniments:
Any kind of potato, especially mashed
Roasted Root Vegetables
Good, dry, red wine - I've been liking the Rioja

Added Meaty Bonus:
Leftover ribs can be shredded and added to pasta sauce or be used as a filling for dumplings, burritos, etc. Or, you can bring them with you to work for lunch - saves you some money and makes your co-workers jealous. Win-win.

Serves 4 people, maybe with some leftovers, depends if you leave the ribs out on the table for people to pick at over the course of the evening...

Note: If you happen to be making a batch of tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, and have the skins and seeds laying around, you can definitely use those instead of canned tomatoes. Or, say you're making a platter of roasted cherry tomatoes and some look a little mushy...just throw those bad boys in the pot and roast the rest off as a delicious side.

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