Thursday, February 15, 2007


The Missus and I got a Carnivorous Craving yesterday.

Maybe it was that small pile of beef short ribs sitting in the fridge that provided inspiration, but we decided to share a Beefy Dinner with our friends Gary and JoAnn. And I settled on a recipe that I found in my Balthazar Cookbook: Braised Short Ribs of Beef.

It ain’t Fast Food. Allow about 4-1/2 hours. Braising takes time.

Braised Short Ribs of Beef.

You take 5-7 pounds of beef short ribs, tie ’em up with butcher’s string, and season liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat up a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy Dutch oven and brown the ribs, about three minutes to a side, working in two batches. Pour off the excess grease between batches.

Put the meat aside and throw in three carrots (peeled and chopped into one-inch chunks), a small onion (likewise chopped), four shallots (peeled and sliced 1/4" thick), and three garlic cloves (peeled and halved). Sauté until the onion is lightly browned, about five minutes.

Prepare a bouquet garni: take three sprigs of fresh rosemary, six sprigs of fresh thyme, and a bay leaf, and place between two halves of a celery stalk. Tie the bundle together with butcher’s twine and set aside.

Add three tablespoons of tomato paste to the mess o’ veggies in the Dutch oven. Mix well and cook down for another two minutes. Now add three tablespoons of all-purpose flour and stir everything together well.

Dump in four cups (one 750 ml bottle is close enough) of good red wine, preferably a nice Cabernet. Add 1/2 cup of ruby Port and toss in that bouquet garni. Bring the whole mess to a moderate simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325°F.

Now add the meat, stacking it in two layers. Add about 4-6 cups of veal stock (beef broth works fine), enough to cover the meat. Bring the whole mess back to the simmer, then cover and stick it in the oven for three hours.

After it’s been in the oven for an hour or so, take it out and swap the meat on the top layer with the meat on the bottom - then put it back in the oven to finish.

Take the meat out (it should be tender!) and remove the string. Set aside.

Now take all the goop in the Dutch oven and strain it into a saucepan. Toss out the solids. Bring the goop up to a moderate simmer and cook it down for about an hour, until it’s reduced to a nice glaze-y consistency. Put the meat back in and heat through, then arrange it on a platter. Sprinkle on a little chopped fresh parsley.

I served these bad boys on a bed of pan-sautéed root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, and celery. You peel and smash five garlic cloves and sauté ’em in hot olive oil until light brown, then throw in the veggies (hock ’em into little dice first). Sauté for five minutes on a high flame, then turn it down to medium for another ten minutes, stirring frequently. Splash in a little water after five minutes to generate some steam.

Finish off by adding a couple tablespoons of butter and some chopped fresh parsley, and you’re good to go.

We served this forth with a green salad SWMBO put together, consisting of romaine with toasted pine nuts and dried cherries, along with a loaf of sourdough rye I had scored at Trader Joe’s earlier that day.

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou beside me, and pretty soon I’ll be fat, drunk, and in trouble.” - MAD Magazine

No comments: