Nothing says the Fall like slowly simmering meats in a big pot! My personal favorite braising meat is the short rib. According to Chow.com, “Short ribs are cut from different sections of the 12 ribs that start at the chuck (shoulder) and continue to the loin. Relatively square, short ribs have full-bodied flavor and luscious tenderness that develop when they are slow-cooked”
Braising short ribs is fairly straightforward but does require a long cooking period (about 3 hours!). Let’s start with the ingredients:
– Half a bottle of good dry red wine
– 2 cups of beef or chicken stock (try to find the low sodium variety)
– ¼ cup of shitake mushrooms (chop roughly, but remove the stems on shitakes)
– 3 pounds of short ribs (most markets will carry these pre-cut in abut 5 ounce pieces)
– ¼ cup of olive oil
– Salt and pepper
– 1 large onion, diced in large chunks
– 2 carrots, diced in large chunks
– 1 sprig of rosemary or a tablespoon of the dried variety
– 2 bay leafs
– ¼ cup of tomato paste
– 1 cup of puréed tomatoes (not prepared tomatoes sauce); you can also use the same amount of canned San Marzano tomatoes, but you’ll need to crush them before adding)
In a large pot (I like the 5.5 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven, but you don’t need a fancy pot), add olive oil and bring the oil to (high) temperature (actually pre-heating the pan and then adding oil will more quickly bring the oil to temperature!). At the same time, lightly flour and season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Turn your stove vent hood on high and begin searing the short ribs on each side (you should get a dark brown crusting effect on the meat; you’re NOT looking to cook the meat, but rather just caramelize the outside). Remember, searing is about leaving a piece of meat alone, so once you place the short rib in the hot oil do not touch it for a few minutes, only turning it when the meat lifts easily).
Next, remove the short ribs and excess oil from the pot and add the remaining olive oil. Now add the mushrooms, carrots, and onions. Cook the items for about 5 minutes bringing your heat down to a medium flame. Next, it’s time to add your liquids including the red wine, tomatoes, chicken stock, and tomato paste. You can also add the rosemary and bay leafs at this time (if you’re dealing with dry herbs remember to crush the herbs in your hand before adding as this will release the oils). Add the short ribs back to the pot and give the mixture a good stir. Next bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a very low simmer (the lowest setting on your stove). The liquid should barely cover the short ribs.
Once the mixture is boiling and you’ve set your stove to simmer, put the pot lid on and let cook for 2.5 – 3 hours. You can begin checking the meat at the 2 hour mark, but you’ll probably need the full three hours. You should also taste the liquid for salt and pepper and add either of the items if the liquid needs it.
Once the short ribs are fully cooked, you’ll want to remove them from the pot and strain out the remaining carrots, onions, etc.. Once you’ve removed any solids from the liquid (including the bay leaves!!), put the short ribs back in the pot with the cooking liquid.
I like to serve short ribs with a simple risotto (recipe to be posted soon!), loose polenta, or some roasted potato wedges. Now is the time to also serve the remaining wine you’ve opened for the braise (Barolo and Bordeaux are perfect wines for braised meats – visit my wine guide post!). Enjoy!