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Monday, March 14, 2011

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs of Beef

Food is cyclical. In the Victorian era, most every cut of beef was used by someone, whether poor or rich, delicious or disgusting. Just as the brisket was often used by poor Jewish people as a food source, short ribs have also long been used as a cheap but delicious piece of meat. For a time, they fell out of style; now, there is a trend of using the underused parts—shanks, brisket, short ribs, cheeks, oxtail. These cuts had once been popular as cheap alternatives to the more expensive steaks and roasts, and now they have found a place in high-end restaurants as gourmet pieces.

They are first marinated in red wine, spices, and aromatics, then slow-cooked in brown sauce, aromatics, red wine, and the leftover marinade. Rosemary is the primary flavoring in this particular version, but the concept is a very wide-ranging one that can be used in many circumstances

Short ribs are cut from the bottom end of the rib primal (orange on the diagram to the left) Short ribs are a cut full of connective tissue, tough and flavorful. In the Western tradition, they take well to being braised or slow-cooked in another manner; other cultures have created recipes that grill, sear, or barbecue the short rib, oftentimes after marinating in pineapple or papaya juices to tenderize the meat.

2 lbs (907 g) short ribs, boneless

1 oz (30 ml) olive oil

4 oz (113 g) onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon (7.5 ml) garlic paste

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) kosher salt
1 bay leaf
2 tsp (10 ml) black peppercorns

1/2 bottle Red Wine

Aromatics and Braising Liquid
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 oz (113 g) onion, chopped
2 oz (57 g) carrot, chopped
2 oz (57 g) celery, chopped

1 pint (473 ml) Espagnole (Brown Sauce)
Red Wine as needed
1 sprig rosemary

1. Sauté the mirepoix for the marinade in a saucepan, starting with the onion. Add the celery and carrots, sauté until soft, then add the garlic paste and sauté for a minute or two. Add the wine, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, and then remove from the heat.

2. When the marinade has cooled, pour over the short ribs, and store in a container large enough to hold the short ribs and keep them covered with the marinade. If they are not fully covered, make sure to turn them about halfway through the marinating time.

3. Store in a cooler overnight to marinade, or at least 6 hours.

4. Preheat a pan on the stove large enough to hold the short ribs, either all at once or in batches. Remove the short ribs from the marinade, dry them, and sear the short ribs on all sides until browned well, but not burnt.

5. Place the seared short ribs off to the side, or in a dutch oven large enough to hold them, and sauté the mirepoix in the searing pan until soft. Deglaze with a splash of red wine, and pour into the dutch oven over the short ribs. Add the remaining marinade, the brown stock, and enough red wine to cover the short ribs 3/4 of the way. Toss in the rosemary, the whole sprig at once, cover, and place in a 300°F/150°C/Gas Mark 2 oven. Braise until tender, usually about 3 hours.

6. Remove from the oven, pull the short ribs out, and skim the fat off the top of the sauce. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop and reduce to a slightly thick consistency. Return the meat to the sauce and cook a few minutes to glaze them.

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