On Wednesday night, I was lucky enough to have the meal of my life. There were 21 courses of remarkable food, and while most of them were something I could never in a million years hope to recreate, there was one that I knew I could attempt.
I knew I couldn’t try the whole interactive pasta roll thing, but the braised short ribs with red wine and herbs? That I could do. When my plans fell through Friday night, I knew I had a mission to accomplish. So I turned to my favorite initial source for recipes: Google. Google in turn led me to Food Network, which led me to one of my most reliable recipe sources: Anne Burrell from Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. She’s the source of my best bolognese recipe, so I knew I had to go with hers. Besides, her instructions always include fun lines such as “scrape the crud” and “brown food tastes good.”
Braised Short Ribs
- 6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 pounds)
- 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
Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables 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.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the 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. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.
Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or 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. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.
So after 3 hours, I removed the short ribs from the liquid and served them. They were delicious, but not the fork-tender amazing meatiness that I knew they could be. So, I returned the covered pot to a 275* oven for another 90 minutes while Adam and I watched a movie. Then, I put the whole pot in the fridge, liquid and all.
Apparently, there’s a chemical change that happens to braised meat when it’s cooled down and then reheated. When I made brisket a while back, my mom told me about this, so I figured I’d give it a try.
Sunday, about 2 hours before we were going to eat dinner, I put the whole covered pot BACK in a 275 degree oven. Yes, again. For another 2 hours.
I told you this was slow.
At the end of two hours, I had what I’d been looking for.
Beautiful, fork-tender, richly-flavored short ribs that smelled freaking fantastic. And I used my long-handled tongs to get them out of the pot, which always makes me feel so chef-like. You know, sweat pants, tank top, barefoot… but using long tongs, so I’m “chef like.” I digress.
But they needed something. I couldn’t just serve these beautiful hunks of meat on a plate and have that be that. So I took these
and shredded the meat, and served it atop creamy polenta with parmesan.
And life was good. And delicious.
And I was happy. The thing with short ribs is that they are NOT your health food item. I’m very eager to try this braising method with a leaner cut of meat…braised bottom round? YES PLEASE!
Now, I have a favor to ask of you. Many of you know that my best friend Lizz has a relatively new blog. She’s hosting her first giveaway for a very cool laundry product, and needs entries! Please head over to her giveaway post and enter! Please and thank you!