Braised Short Ribs (Beef!)

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The beer not yet opened.

This post starts with beer: Chatoe Rogue First Growth Pumpkin Patch Ale from Rogue Brewery. So: I am mostly a wine drinker, but I do love good beers, while David is mostly a beer drinker, who doesn’t love wine but will drink it occasionally (and I do mean occasionally). There’s a grocery store a neighborhood over from us that has this weirdly gigantic beer selection, all kinds of small breweries and international beers. I’m not sure how we even discovered this treasure, since from the outside it appears to be just a basic grocery store. On one of David’s recent trips to this store, he came back with this pumpkin ale – pumpkin ales are among my very favorite beers, and the Rogue brewery is producing some incredibly great beer. This is a large bottle, so the idea was to share it. The problem is that most meals, and most nights, I drink wine, either because I feel like the food calls for it or because I’m more in a wine mood. This week, David really started craving the pumpkin beer, so we tried to figure out a meal that I would definitely want to drink beer with. Short ribs! Perfect, since I was thinking about barbecue-style short ribs. But when it came down to making the meal, I ended up going with more of a classic French/boeuf bourguignon style, which of course (in my mind) calls for wine, especially since there is red wine in the sauce itself. So the pumpkin beer awaits us, I had wine, and we ate this (if I may say) very delicious short rib dish.

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Short ribs, right before entering the oven for a 3-hour braise.

Ingredients (for two people, with some leftovers)

2 lbs bone-in beef short ribs, sliced into 2 inch pieces (give or take – if the butcher sold them to you whole, just slice in between each bone)
Thyme
Garlic cloves
Pearl onions (or regular). Pearl onions are delicious but time-consuming: boil for 2 minutes, run under cold water to cool, then slice root end. The onions will (mostly) peel easily. You can also use regular onions, white or yellow, cut into large pieces.
1-2 bay leaves
2 tbls balsamic vinegar
2-3 cups red wine (I had half a bottle left from the previous night’s dinner, so I used that. Always cook with wine that you’d be happy to drink!)
5-6 cups beef stock (I buy whatever organic stock I can find – I have not yet had the patience or constitution to make my own stock. You should use whatever you have/prefer/can handle.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, lightly torn/chopped for topping (I will be honest: both nights we had this, I completely forgot about the parsley, but I wish I had remembered, because I love the taste, smell, and texture of fresh parsley.)

To be added when serving:
Carrots (steamed)
Potatoes (boiled) I made potatoes for David, but I had bread with mine, since I love bread and David loves potatoes.

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Homemade French bread – success at last! Recipe to follow.

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Most classic recipes for this kind of dish call for cooking carrots with the beef and then straining the sauce and leaving them behind. I did not/will not do this, mostly because I don’t have the patience, but also because I think it’s a waste of carrots, which I’d rather eat. Instead, I steamed them on the side and added them to the bowl just before pouring the beef/sauce mixture over them. Steaming kept the carrots sweet and crisp (which was a revelation to me; I’ve never steamed carrots before – I was just looking for a way to keep the carrots plain and crisp, rather than falling apart in and being fully absorbed by the sauce). I boiled the potatoes for the same reason: I didn’t want them to fall apart in the sauce.

Making It

Note: If you can, make this the day before. Like any stew or soup, a day or two of marinating will really bring the dish together into something wonderful.

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • If using pearl onions, prepare and set aside: boil for 2 minutes and run under cold water. Once they are cool, peel (they should just slip out of their skins).
  • Season the ribs with salt and pepper, then brown well on all sides (except the bone side) in a large Dutch oven in olive oil. You may need to do this in batches – don’t overcrowd the pot, or the meat won’t brown.
  • Remove the meat to a platter. Saute the garlic and thyme in the olive oil. (If the meat has produced a lot of water or fat, drain first.)
  • Add wine and vinegar; bring to a boil and allow to reduce (technically by half, but I can be a little impatient, so I didn’t leave it quite that long.)
  • Add the stock, bringing to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, reduce the heat a bit and add the ribs back to the pot. There should be enough stock to almost cover the meat.
  • Cover the pot first with aluminum foil and then the pot lid. Place into oven and allow to braise for 2-3 hours. The meat will (should!) fall very easily off the bone. Note: I prepared the recipe up to this point on the first day, then continued from here the next night. Another perk of braising the meat the day before you’re ready to eat: removing extra fat is incredibly easy, as it will have risen to the top of the pot and solidified, at which point you can take it off before reheating.
  • Allow the beef to simmer gently on the stove top (if you’ve just taken it out of the refrigerator be sure to allow the beef to be fully hot before serving) while you prepare the sides: steam the carrots, boil the potatoes, slice the bread, prepare a salad, etc. Really, whatever you’d like to eat with this will taste delicious.
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I placed half a slice of bread on the bottom of the bowl to get fully soaked in sauce.

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I found myself going back for more broth, which was rich (without a drop of butter!) and meaty. I even ended up having my salad in the same bowl so the leaves could be coated in the broth…

What we drank:

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This entry was published on February 9, 2013 at 9:28 pm. It’s filed under Beef, Dinner, Stews and Soups and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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