Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall-Off-the-Bone Braised Short Ribs

If you’re cooking a birthday dinner for friends and need something a bit special and positively delicious, look no further.

I’ve had slow-braised short ribs on the brain ever since the weather turned chilly, so when our friend Casey’s birthday rolled around a few weekends ago, I was delighted to have an excuse to buy 6 pounds of meat.

A sweet Asian-style braise was my first inclination but since I had my heart set on serving polenta, red wine made a lot more sense. So I put my faith in Anne Burrell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef) for guidance. Her clever technique calls for pureeing a Mirepoix prior to sautéing so that it easily melts right into the sauce. Brilliant.

While this dish takes close to 4 hours from start to finish, you’ll only need to put in about 60 minutes of active kitchen time before letting the oven work its magic.
This is slow food at its best.

Fall-Off-the-Bone Braised Short Ribs
This dish is perfect for impressing company or for a lazy Sunday. My favorite accompaniment is creamy polenta (shown here) but I'm sure your trusted mashed potato recipe would also do it justice. Adapted from an Anne Burrell recipe.

Serves 8

6 lbs bone-in short ribs
Kosher salt
High heat vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup tomato paste
1 bottle hearty red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves

Season the short ribs generously with salt. In a large stock pot (one that’s large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables), heat a layer of high-heat vegetable oil over high heat. Working in batches, add the short ribs and brown very well, 3-4 minutes per side (do not overcrowd).

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

While the short ribs are browning, puree the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. 

After searing on all sides, remove the ribs from the pan. Drain the fat and add fresh oil to coat the bottom. Add the pureed vegetables and season generously with salt. Brown the vegetables until dark and a browned film forms on the bottom of the pan, approximately 8 minutes. Scrape up the browned bits and let them reform. Scrape them up once again and add the tomato paste; cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan (lower the heat if things start to burn). Continue cooking until the mixture has been reduced by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups of beef broth or just enough to barely cover the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3-3 1/2 hours, turning the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more beef broth or water, if needed. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes to allow browning and to let the sauce reduce. The meat should be incredibly tender when done.

Before serving, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary (I removed the ribs, added salt, stirred well and returned the ribs to the sauce). Serve with the braising sauce.

1 comment:

Nuts about food said...

This looks amazing! I hope you had a fun dinner.