Monday, January 30, 2012

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Improvisation leads to some wonderful discoveries.
Our oven was broken for about a month last October-November, so we had to use our toaster oven for baking which was pretty limiting.
Braising, which is one of my favorite ways to cook, was off limits.

Then, Tom came up with the idea of using the grill, which has a thermometer on it.  He got it heated at 350 degrees and monitored it on and off. 
The grill cover prevented me from putting the top on the pot completely.  I had to leave it cocked off to the side slightly.  What resulted was a thick wonderfully rich, syrupy sauce for the short ribs.

We made the recipe again, in the regular oven, and it was fantastic once again.

I am posting it so we enjoy it in the future.  It's the best beef short ribs recipe I have found so far. 

A note about beef short ribs:  Wegman's says they switch from boneless to bone-in every other shipment. So, grab them if you see them and freeze for future use. Also, be careful to select only the beefy, meaty ones. I have noticed that Wegman's is very inconsistent. If you don't pay attention you will end up buying mostly bones, and that will defeat the whole purpose of this recipe. Bone-in is best because the bones add to the flavor of the dish.  Oh, how I wish we had a real butcher shop!

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
(adapted from Bon Appetit, Oct 2011)

5 lb. bone - in beef short ribs, cut crosswise
salt and pepper
3 T. oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 T.  flour
1 T. tomato paste
1 750 ml bottle dry red wine (Cab or Zin or Syrah)
10 springs flat leaf parsley (or 1 T. dry)
8 springs thyme (or 2 t. dry)
4 springs oregano (or 1 t. dry)
2 dried bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups low salt beef stock

Preheat the oven or grill to 350 degrees.  Pat dry, and season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.   Working in batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.  Don't overcrowd.  Transfer ribs to a plat.  Pour off all but 3 T. drippings from pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.  Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly  until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes.  Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes.  Add all herbs to pot along with garlic.  Stir in stock.  Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.

Cook until short ribs are tender, 2 to 2.5 hours.  Ribs are done when the bones slide out easily. Transfer short ribs to a platter.  Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup.  Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard.  Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve in shallow bowls, over mashed potatoes if you wish, but we skipped them, with sauce spooned over.


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