Interest in cooking short ribs at home has been rekindled by the short-rib boom in trendy restaurants. Americans across the map have re-discovered the comforting deliciousness of collagen-rich cuts of meat, like short ribs, melting down in a pot over 3-4 hours into soft and buttery puddles of protein. The following recipe—with its wine sauce, and its carefully cooked vegetables—is a homey version of something you might expect to see in a modern restaurant. Serve, by all means, with mashed potatoes.
Braised Short Ribs with Carrots, Parsnips and Red Wine
Yields: 4 main-course servings
1 large leek, white and pale green part only, washed, quartered and chopped in ½” pieces
2 medium shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 large stalks celery, washed, halved lengthwise and chopped in ½” pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled, quartered and chopped in ½” pieces
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 large sprigs thyme
1 small sprig rosemary
1 bottle good-quality dry red wine
5 pounds beef short ribs, bone in, cross-cut so they’re about ¾” thick (should be 8 pieces)
all-purpose flour for dusting meat
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 ounces sliced, un-smoked bacon (such as pancetta), cut into ⅜” pieces (see NOTE)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
a 14 1/2-ounce can of beef broth
2 cups waterGlazed Carrots and Parsnips (recipe follows)
1. Combine the leek, shallots, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, a few grindings of black pepper and the wine in a large non-reactive bowl. Nestle the short ribs in the bowl so they’re completely submerged (weight them with a plate if necessary). Cover tightly and marinate the mixture overnight.
2. Remove the short ribs from the marinade, blot them dry on paper towels and transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet or platter. Strain the marinade into a colander set over a non-reactive bowl and transfer the vegetables to a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Reserve the marinade and the vegetables.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 300ºF.
4. Evenly sprinkle some kosher salt on both sides of the ribs. Sprinkle one side of the ribs with a dusting of flour. Place a large, heavy stockpot with a tight fitting lid over high heat, uncovered. Add the oil (it looks like a lot of oil, but it will help the meat brown better and you’ll pour it off later), and just as the oil begins to smoke, carefully add 4 of the ribs, floured-side down. Reduce the heat to medium-high and allow them to brown until deeply colored on the first side, 8-10 minutes, regulating the heat if they threaten to burn. Sprinkle the second side with a bit more of the flour, turn the ribs over and brown them until deeply colored, 6-8 minutes more. Return the browned ribs to the baking sheet, repeat with the remaining ribs, and set aside.
5. Allow the pot to cool slightly, and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil. Return the pot to medium heat, add the bacon and cook until golden brown but still tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels and reserve. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the reserved marinade vegetables. Immediately scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula to loosen any browned bits, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly brown at the edges, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring regularly, for 1 minute. Add the reserved wine marinade, the broth and the water, scraping the bottom of the pot with a spatula as you did before. Immerse the reserved ribs in the liquid (adding any juices left behind on the baking sheet) and bring just to a simmer. Skim any impurities that rise to the surface. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Let the ribs braise very gently until the meat is very tender, soft and falling from the bones, about 3 hours (if your ribs are 1″ or thicker, cooking time will be closer to 4 hours). After 20 minutes of braising, check the pot and make sure the meat is just barely simmering. If it’s bubbling at more than a bare simmer, reduce the heat to 275ºF, re-cover, and continue cooking, checking it again after 15 minutes and regulating the heat as necessary.
6. Remove the pot from the oven and let it rest, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, submerging as much of the meat as possible under the remaining liquid. Skim off most of the orangey fat that has risen to the top of the pot and discard. Carefully transfer the ribs to a large dish and cover tightly with foil. Return them to the oven set to warm. Pass the braising liquid through a mesh strainer (not super-fine mesh) set over a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract the flavor and some of the thickening power of the vegetables. You should have about 3 cups of liquid. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a lively simmer and cook, skimming occasionally, until thickened slightly and reduced in volume by ¼ (to about 2¼ cups). The consistency should be about halfway between a broth and a sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Season with additional salt if necessary .
7. To serve, gently reheat the glazed carrots and parsnips (see recipe below.) Place a spoonful of mashed potatoes (if using) in the center of 4 dinner plates and top each with 2 pieces of the short ribs. Ladle about ¼ of a cup of the reduced braising liquid over and around each serving. Attractively arrange a portion of glazed carrots and parsnips over each. Pass the remaining braising liquid at the table.
NOTE: If the bacon you’re using is smoked, immerse it in simmering water for 2-3 minutes to lessen the smoky flavor.
Glazed Carrots and Parsnips
makes enough for 1 recipe of Braised Short Ribs with Carrots, Parsnips and Red Wine
6 medium carrots (about ¾ pound) with 1″ of green tops left on, peeled and halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⅓ cups water, plus additional as needed
6 medium parsnips (about ¾ pound), peeled and halved lengthwise
1. Place the carrots, cut side down, in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of the butter, half the salt and half the water. Repeat with the parsnips and the remaining ingredients in a second skillet. Make 2 parchment paper or foil lids about an inch smaller than the diameter of the skillets, poke them with a few holes and center them loosely on top of vegetables.
2. Bring the skillets to a boil over high heat and reduce them to a bare simmer, lightly shaking the skillets to distribute the butter and salt. Let the vegetables simmer/steam until they are tender but still a bit firm, turning them after about 5 minutes of cooking. Depending on the thickness and age of the vegetables, the total cooking time for the carrots should be between 6 to 10 minutes; the parsnips, 8 to 12 minutes. If towards the end of cooking the water has evaporated, add a few tablespoons to keep them moist, as necessary.
3. When the vegetables are tender but still firm, remove the lids and turn up the heat slightly to evaporate most of the remaining liquid. As the liquid becomes thickened and buttery, gently shake the skillets, carefully turning the vegetables so that they become glazed and glossy on all sides. Serve immediately, or transfer the vegetables to a plate to cool. When ready to re-heat, combine all the vegetables in one skillet (with a tablespoon of water if they seem a bit dry), cover with a reserved parchment lid, and warm over medium heat.
Photos Via: Bigstockphoto