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BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS

You can find this recipe and other wonderful ones on Thomas Keller book Ad Hoc at Home.

RED WINE REDUCTION

1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup diced (1/2-inch) yellow onion
1 cup 1/2-inch-thick slices peeled carrots
1 cup 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms and/or mushrooms stems
3 thyme sprigs
6-flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 large garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on

BRAISE

1 piece (about 2 1/2 pounds) boneless chuck short rib
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Canola oil
1 cup diced (1/2 inch) yellow onion
2/3 cup 1/2-inch thick slices peeled carrot
1 1/2 cup 1/2 inch thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)
2 garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
About 5 cups beef stock

Braising is such a satisfying process for the cook. First, you brown the ribs in fat, then cook them in a rich braising liquid–until they’re tender but still have some body to them, not until they’re falling apart–then cool them in the braising liquid. The flavor improves with time, so these are actually best cooked at least a day before you plan to serve them.

Ask your butcher for a cut called “boneless chuck short rib.” Cooking it whole off the bone allows you to cut portions as you wish after it has cooked. Serve this with a rich, creamy side dish, such as Polenta, puree of garlic potatoes or celery root with melted onions.

HOW TO DO IT
1. Combine all the ingredient for the red wine reduction in a large Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot that will hold the meat comfortably.

2. Bring to a simmer over high heat and reduce the heat to maintain the simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, until the the wine has reduced to a glaze.

3.Meanwhile, trim any pieces of sinew from the top of the short ribs; leave the layer of fat and silver-skin. Remove any remaining connecting tissue from where the bones were removed. Season all sides generously with salt and pepper and coat in flour, patting off any excess.

4. Heat some canola oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the meat fat-side-down, reduce the heat, and brown the meat for 3 minutes. Turn the meat and brown the other side.

5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

6. Add the onion, carrots, leeks, garlic, thyme and bay leaves to the wine reduction and toss together. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 4 inches larger than the diameter of the pot. Moisten the cheesecloth and wring dry, place over the vegetables, and fold over the edges to form a “nest” for the meat. (The cheesecloth will allow the liquid to flavor and cook the meat but prevent bits of vegetables and herbs from clinging to it). Put the meat on the cheesecloth and add the stock; it should come just to the top of the meat. Cut a parchment lid and place it over the meat.

7. Transfer the pot to the oven, reduce the heat to 325°F, and braise the beef for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until very tender. To check, uncover the meat and press on it: the fibers should separate as you press down, but the meat shouldn’t be falling apart.

8. Transfer the meat to a heatproof container. Strain the braising liquid twice through a fine-mesh conical strainer into a bowl, then strain into a fat separator or deep bowl and allow the fat to rise to the top.

9. Skim off the fat and strain the liquid over the meat. (The meat can be refrigerated in the liquid for up to 3 days, the finished as follows. Or it can be used to make beef Stroganoff or Catalan beef stew.)

10. To get ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400°F.

11. Remove any solidified fat from the surface of the liquid. (If the liquid has gelled, place the container in the oven or microwave and heat until the liquid melts and you can remove the meat without breaking it.)

12. Put the fat-side-down in a ovenproof sauté pan and pour about 1/4 inch of the braising liquid. Pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan, bring to simmer, and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Remove the sauce from the heat.

13. Meanwhile, put the pan of short ribs over medium heat and bring to a simmer, spooning the juices over the meat. Transfer the uncover pan to the oven to heat through, about 15 minutes, basting with the juices once or twice. Turn the meat over and baste generously with the juices. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, basting two more times, until the meat is hot and richly browned with the sauce.

14. Arrange the meat on a platter and spoon the sauce over it.

Claudia Sandoval

Travel and food visual storytelling

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