Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Recipes -- Braised Beef Short Ribs

The ultimate braised beef short ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs, the ultimate beef stew fall recipe!

It's starting to be that time of year again, when long slowly cooked foods appeal, and the aroma of a hearty stew spreading through the house is just the thing to counter the fall winds and colder temperatures. In keeping with that. I'm going to post one of my favorite recipes, my Braised Short Ribs. For me this is the The Ultimate Beef Stew.

And while I call it my recipe, I am sure it is a collision of several recipes for braised short ribs that I've run into over the years, but I just can't remember what they are!

It's not written in stone, either, so add what you want!

I originally posted this recipe to The Fresh Hot Sauce Blog, 'cause it's so good with the Hot Pepper Sauce I like to make, but it is certainly good without the Hot Sauce, as my wife and daughter tell me.

Braised Beef Short Ribs Recipe

The recipe will make 16 single 3" to 4" rib servings, which in my house translates to 8 or fewer servings. And it makes a lot of honest beef stock gravy, in this case, really, sauce, that is thickened with the natural gelatin from the collagen in the cartilage and bones of the short ribs. After the stock is removed form the meat, you just reduce it until you have the thickness you want.

Do not be tempted to marinate the short ribs before cooking -- it is not necessary -- the short ribs have tremendous flavor and texture all by themselves.

Perfect braised short ribs...This recipe is good with lots of sides, mashed potatoes, noodles, and especially in a shepherd's pie, surrounded by potato.

I cook it in the Slow Cooker after browning the ribs, and I like to let the ribs braise overnight, or about 12 hours on low, strain and de-fat the liquid in the AM, and recombine the sauce and the Short Ribs by dinner time. You do not have to use a slow cooker for this, however, and braised in the oven at 300 for 6 hours or so or on the stove for 6 to 8 hours at low, the dish will be fine. For oven or stovetop, test each hour after 3 hours or so for doneness -- when the meat starts to fall off the bone, it's done.

In the beginning, there were short ribs

Braised Short Ribs with Red or White Wine:

8 lbs of beef short ribs or flanken, preferably with the bone in
1 large sweet onion, rough chop
2 large sweet onions medium dice
3 large carrots, rough chop
3 cups medium dice carrots
4 stalks of celery, rough chop
3 cups medium dice celery
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 to 8 TBS tomato paste
4 bay leaves
Bouquet Garni (small bundle) of fresh herbs -- parsley, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme ...
2 or 3 TSP freshly ground black pepper or pepper mix
3 TSP sea salt
3 to 6 TSP fresh (not old) paprika
1/2 to 1 bottle drinkable cabernet or merlot, not too dry, or sauvignon blanc--full bottle

Braised Beef short ribs developing flavorOptional -- pearl onions, mushrooms ...

Anticipate 3 cooking segments.

The recipe will involve 3 cooking segments -- 1) preparing the ingredients for the slow-cooker, about 30 minutes -- 2) straining and de-fatting the stock, and removing the fat, bones, and rubbery parts from the short ribs, about 30 minutes-- 3) reducing the stock, sauteeing some new veggies and combining the ingredients, about 30 to 45 minutes. The 3 cooking segments are spread out over a 24 hour period, which for me are usually the afternoon of the day before serving, the morning of the day the dish is served, and the evening of the meal.

Part 1:

Braised beef short ribs flavors are coming togetherOn a large sheet pan place the short ribs in a single layer, douse them with olive oil and salt generously, then brown them in a 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes or longer until well colored.

Transfer to the bottom of a large slow cooker, including juices from the pan.

Add all other ingredients, and then enough water to bring to a level with the top layer of veggies. Slide bundle of herbs (Bouquet Garni) into pot at the side. If you have an unsalted demi-glace or stock (beef or chicken) you could add that in place of the water -- it is not necessary.

At this point you could add some optional spices, like 2 or 3 TSP of ground chipotle pepper, or ancho pepper, 1/2 TSP of liquid smoke, or 2 TSP of cumin, or whatever you think will taste good. Or you could save the modifications for the next time you make this.

So now you set the slow cooker for low heat and 12 hours, the night before, and come back in the AM to an all-pervasive aroma that makes you hungry for dinner before you've even had breakfast. That's what happens to me, anyway.

Part 2:

Delicious braised beef short ribsAfter the slow cooker pot has had a chance to cool a bit, transfer , carefully and gently, all of the short ribs to an appropriate sized dutch oven, with enough room left over to add more sauteed veggies, and all of the stock.

After you've transferred the short ribs, you can slide the rib bones out of the meat and carefully pull or cut off the rubbery membrane that sleeves the bone.

Strain the cooking stock through a chinois or a fine mesh sieve and carefully compress the solid matter against the mesh to extract all that slow-cooked goodness.

Transfer liquid to tall 1 or 2 quart containers with lids and place in freezer until fat has congealed.

Part 3:

Then remove fat from top of the frozen stock containers with a spoon and discard.

Reduce stock by about 1/3 at a simmer.

Saute in 3 TBS neutral oil over medium high heat 3 cups each of medium dice carrots and medium diced celery until just softening about 5 to 8 minutes, and reserve.

Braised beef short ribs platedSaute over medium high heat 4 cups of medium dice sweet onion in 3 TBS olive oil. until well browned but not burned, about 15 to 25 minutes. Nonstick pans are good for this.

Add to stock and simmer for 30 minutes more.

Taste and correct the seasoning with additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as required.

Pour stock and onion mixture back into dutch oven with short ribs and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add any optional veggies, such as mushrooms or pearl onions (you can saute them a little first if you like to build flavor and pre-soften them)

Add carrots and celery to dutch oven and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Correct the seasoning again and serve. Add some Hot Sauce to the pot if all of your customers will approve.

By the way, I purchased the ribs at BJ's for $2.49 per lb, although I've seen them there for as much as, gasp, $2.99 per lb, and the prices I've seen at Pathmark and Stop&Shop range from $3.99 on sale to $4.99 per lb.

And as I said earlier, to my own serving I add my SR Virgin Fresh Red Cayenne-Cherry Pepper Sauce that's made with fresh pepper juice, fresh garlic juice, and fresh onion juice as well as a little sea salt and rice wine vinegar. !!!

Plated braised beef short ribsThis dish gets better and better over the week to 10 days from making it, and you can serve it with different sides each time.

By the way, it freezes very well and keeps in the fridge for quite a while since it's immersed in the solidified gelatin of the sauce.

I'd love to have feedback to hear about what you make.

If you make this recipe, let me know!


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