Braised Short Ribs; A Guest Post

print2

For the first time ever, I have a guest post for you! Check out the article below as my husband Joe writes about making Braised Short Ribs that will knock your socks off!

Don’t forget to subscribe Recklessly to receive emails every time an article is posted, so you never miss a recipe!

IMG_6562

So, let’s just admit that we’re all human. Seriously, take a moment or two and think about it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Got it? Good. One of the dirty little secrets about being human is that we desire recognition for the things we do well. Don’t even bother trying to argue against it, you do. We all do. It’s just part of the deal. We get to have thumbs, too, so its a fair trade in my book. We’ve all had those grand dreams of impressing our friends and loved ones beyond belief over something we’ve done. Maybe you save a bus full of school children from falling off a cliff. Maybe you cure cancer while setting the world record for spinning a basketball on your fingertip. Or maybe you run a marathon… while carrying a live brown bear. As impressive as these feats are, they seem really hard. This is a much easier way to impress those friends and loved ones, and with a far smaller chance of getting mauled. By a BEAR. This is really just an ever so slight adaptation Anne Burrell’s recipe that was posted to Food Network’s website, but it is really, really good.

Here’s what you’ll need (serves 8):
About 5 hours of time (hands on: 90 minutes)
About 5-6 pounds boneless Short Ribs
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves

IMG_6466

In this post, I have halved the recipe since Clara and I don’t have any kids. Or friends. It easily reduces down to serve 4. Here is the halved version, for those who aren’t too good much fractions:

About 2.5-3 pounds boneless Short Ribs
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 rib celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed
3/4 cups tomato paste
1.5 cups hearty red wine
1 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
1 bay leaf

One last note about this slight adaptation: we used boneless short ribs because they are cheaper for some reason on base than their bone-in brethren. If you use the bone-in variety, which are probably less expensive under most circumstances, nothing really changes. Just be sure to adjust for the weight of the bone when planning your serving sizes. And you don’t need to brown the bone. Just saying.

The Process
-Season each short rib generously with salt. Like, for serious. This salt layer will help create a crust on the outer layer of the ribs, which is critical to lock in the flavor of this whole process. This recipe is not for the faint of heart, or the health conscious. This is a treat meal. It is not healthy by almost any standard, but trust me, it is delicious. And I guess it has a lot of protein. So there’s that!

IMG_6468

-Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. For the full version, a large soup pot will do just fine. Extra space isn’t a problem, but not having enough space certainly is. For the halved version, we are using a very large cast iron pan with a cover. You NEED a cover, so make sure you have one that fits the pot/pan you choose.

-Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary. This is a marathon, not a sprint. They have to go in the oven for like 3 hours anyway. Taking an extra 10 minutes to do this right isn’t a big deal. Each side should look very, very brown, but NOT black or burned.

IMG_6488

-Preheat the oven to 375F. This can be done first thing, if you so choose, but it will be awhile before you need it. Just trying to save a few cents on that electric/gas bill.

-While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. This will form a large part of the flavor base for the braising liquid. While the short ribs will be the star of the show, the veggie base will be the, uh, well trained stage crew that does all the little things behind the scenes to let that star shine so bright. Hooray for long analogies!

IMG_6477 IMG_6493

-When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. DO NOT wash out that pan if you can avoid it. Drain the fat, and leave whatever else you can; those browned bits will add some serious flavor later on.

IMG_6495

-Season the vegetables with salt and brown them until they are a nice light brown and a slight crud layer has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking: crud is actually an acronym that stands for “Chalk River Unidentified Deposit”, relating to the strange, radioactive particulates found downstream of the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory near Ottowa in the 1950’s. Please let that slide for just a moment. When the semi-colorful paste starts turning brown, good things are happening.

IMG_6500

– Scrape the crud and let it reform (Brown food is good food!). Scrape the crud one more time and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. I use the term “brown” pretty liberally here. If it goes full on brown, that’s fine. If it just turns a deeper red, that is also fine. Just let it cook for those 4-5 minutes to let all those flavors blend together. (The original recipe calls for the more full on brown. Feel free to cook the tomato paste longer to achieve that color. I’m paranoid about burning things.)

IMG_6525

-Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan once again. Lower the heat if things are starting to burn, as we are in the home stretch now. Brown is good, black is bad! Continue cooking and reduce the mixture by about half. Remember, lowering the heat at this point is OK! If you have seen a few black bits in your crud layers, lowering the heat is recommended. At this point, we are just waiting for the alcohol to cook off. As long as you see some steam coming off the mixture, all is well. It might just take a little bit longer.

IMG_6527

-Return the short ribs to the pan and add water until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours.

IMG_6536IMG_6548

-Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Again, we want the ribs not quite covered, but you also don’t want the liquid level to get too low. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. I have never had this problem, at least until the halfway mark. If you have cookware you can trust, just set it and forget it for the full 90 minutes until the halfway point and re-evaluate the water level while you are flipping the ribs.

-Remove the lid during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce down a bit. When done the meat should be very tender but not completely falling apart. Stick a fork in it and pull it back out. It should just slide right back out without taking the short ribs with it. Serve with the braising liquid, and a side of your choice.

IMG_6551

A nice creamy side works well to enhance the texture of this dish. Pair this with your favorite mashed potato, and everybody will be pretty darn happy. Unless your favorite mashed potato sucks. We’ve also tried this with polenta, which was even better, in my opinion.

IMG_6560

print2


Braised Short Ribs

Slightly Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Ingredients:

  • About 5-6 pounds boneless Short Ribs
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a large oven-safe pot (that has an oven safe cover) with olive oil and bring to a high heat.

Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary. Each side should look very, very brown, but NOT black or burned.

While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. DO NOT wash out the pot.

Season the vegetables with salt and brown them until they are a nice light brown and a slight crud layer has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.

Scrape the crud and let it reform (Brown food is good food!). Scrape the crud one more time and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan once again. Lower the heat if things are starting to burn, continue cooking and reduce the mixture by about half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add water until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours.

Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. You want the ribs almost but not completely covered in liquid. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time.

Remove the lid during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking to let the sauce reduce down a bit. When done the meat should be very tender but not completely falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid, and a side of mashed potatoes or polenta.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *