Thursday, November 4, 2010

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Goodness

I have been meaning to braise beef ribs for sometime now but I have not find the time needed to actually do it.  Most recipes call for 3 hours of braising and with my work schedule, it is impossible to get it all done before dinner.  But I was craving for it that I even asked my husband to buy me the book All About Braising hoping to find a quicker, less complicated way to make a delicious one.  The book had a recipe for a mouth-watering Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale, but I find it hard to find a Porter Ale so I dismissed the intention of cooking it.  Anyway,  I hope to make the dish one day...

Then I stumbled on a recipe over at Simply Recipes.  The writer raved so much about her father's Braised Beef Short Ribs and her readers who have tried raved about it as well.  I was easily convinced, besides the ingredients were minimal and the process was relatively easy.  Although the entire process is time consuming ( spans over two days), I deemed it workable since hands-on cooking time is only about an hour on each day.

On the first day, you brown the beef and vegetables, then braise for hours.  You can pretty much do other things while you braise - cook dinner for the night, do chores, watch TV, read a book, paint your toe nails, etc.  After braising, refrigerate and go to bed.  Easy peasy, right?   Well, the second day is also not that bad of a process.  At this point it is only as if you are reheating a meal off the stove.  You simply remove the fat and boil the beef for about an hour until the sauce is thickened.  

The result is superb.  Very much worth the long time it took to make it.  It is a melt-in-your-mouth kind of goodness.  To be honest I felt guilty to have served it with a microwave baked potato.  It deserved something better - like good home made mashed potatoes and maybe some beautifully sauteed brussel sprouts.  But I had no choice as my husband was in a hurry to go somewhere with a friend - I actually had doubts about finishing the dish on time.  But surely I would make it again.. and again... and next time it would be with better side dishes and a good bottle of wine to complement it. 

Braised Beef Short Ribs
10 beef short ribs, bone-in
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 750-ml bottle good dry red wine (I used a Incanto Chianti Classico Reserva 2005)
1 quart veal stock (or beef stock, but I used beef broth)

Day One:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Season ribs with salt & pepper.  Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed overproof pan (I used a dutch oven) over high heat.  Add ribs and brown on all sides.  Work in batches so that the ribs do not get crowded - for better browning.
  2. Transfer ribs to plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.  Add the onions, celery and carrots and saute, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.  Add the wine to the pan, and deglaze, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Boil for about 15 minutes over medium heat, until wine is reduced by three-quarters and slightly syrupy.
  4. Return the ribs to the pan, add the stock and enough water to cover the ribs.  Bring to a boil, cover with foil, and place in the oven.  Braise in the oven at a gentle simmer, until the meat is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Check after the first 10 minutes to see that the liquid is not simmering too aggressively; if it is, lower the oven temperature by 10 degrees.  During the last 1/2 hour of braising, add back in the vegetables.
  5. Remove from oven and allow the ribs to cool in the liquid, then cover and refrigerate overnight (or upto 2 days).
Day Two:
  1. Remove the excess fat that has solidified at the top from the chilling.
  2. Remove the ribs from the liquid and set aside.  Using a blender, puree the liquid and vegetable mixture. Then return ribs and mixture back to the pan.  (This step is optional, I find that pureeing the vegetables give a thicker consistency in the sauce.  If you like you can also strain the liquid after pureeing).
  3. Place the pan with the ribs & cooking liquid over medium heat, uncovered.  Add brown sugar and boil until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters, about 1 hour.   Spoon the sauce over the ribs as you cook, until the sauce is thick and ribs are glazed.  Take care not to burn the glaze, move the ribs around in the pan to keep them from burning.
  4. Serve over baked potatoes, egg noodles, mashed potaoes, or rice.
Note to self : If cooking for a group of people, allot 2 ribs per person.

Beef Short Ribs : $12.00
Mirepoix : $1.00
Beef Broth : $2.50
Chianti : $9.00

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