It has been so cold and rainy here this Winter that I have made countless soups and stews to keep us warm on these chilly days! I also love the aroma of a pot of something wonderfully fragrant simmering on the stove when you walk through the door. There is nothing more inviting.
In addition to soups and stews, another delightful dish for this wintry weather is braised short ribs. It is an incredibly satisfying comfort food that is also elegant enough to serve to guests.
I have a few recipes that I use when making short ribs. I will eventually share them all. The one I made this past weekend is a very hearty, earthy dish. The addition of dried porcini mushrooms and their liquid make the sauce especially thick and richly flavored. I have found that it needs very little adjusting. It is been consistently delicious every time I have made it.
My butcher cut the short ribs to order for me the other day. They were beautiful and incredibly lean. I did need to add some olive oil to the pan to braise them properly because the bacon I used was also very lean. I still let the dish sit overnight to make it easier to remove the fat. (I actually was surprised how much fat there was). I also like to let the ribs sit overnight to allow the flavors to come together, so making the dish a day in advance has two benefits.
I love these wonderful recipes that you can make ahead. It makes entertaining so much easier. Just so you know, this dish also requires an additional 12-24 hours to marinate the short ribs. They need to marinade in a bottle of red wine with veggies and herbs prior to braising. I used a medium bodied French Pinot Noir. It was perfect for standing up to the beef. Some of the reserved marinade also becomes your braising liquid, so you want to be sure the wine is as good as one you would drink with dinner. It is well worth the time spent and I know your family or guests will appreciate your culinary efforts!
Here is the recipe adapted from Sur La Table
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Serves 4 (generously)
* 1 large onion, sliced
* 1 carrot, scrubbed and sliced
* 1 celery rib, sliced
* 4 garlic cloves, smashed
* 2 bay leaves (I used fresh)
* 5 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 sprig fresh rosemary
* ¼ teaspoon crushed juniper berries
* 10-12 peppercorns
* 1 bottle (750-ml.) medium-bodied red wine (I used a French Pinot Noir)
* 4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
1. Combine the first ten ingredients in a large bowl. Add ribs, cover and marinate in refrigerator 12 to 24 hours. (I marinated mine for 24 hours. I also turned short ribs periodically. A better choice would be to put everything in a really large zip lock bag. I did not have one large enough, so I opted for a 13 x 9 inch glass pan).
* Good olive oil (if you need some for sautéing)
* 6 oz bacon, sliced in to lardons (I used Applewood Sunday Bacon)
* Seasoned flour (½ cup all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp kosher salt, 2 tsp fresh black pepper)
* 2 carrots, peeled, medium dice
* 2 celery ribs, sliced
* 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
* 4 cloves crushed garlic
* 2 tbsp tomato paste
* 2 cups reserved marinade
* 1 cup veal or beef stock (I used Pacific Organic Beef Stock)
* 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 1 cup boiling water, strained
* 1 sprig of rosemary, approx. 3″
* 5 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 tbsp butter
* 2 tbsp cognac
* buerre manié (1 tbsp flour & 1 tbsp softened butter mixed together)
1. Remove ribs from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place colander over a bowl and strain the wine; discard the vegetables.
2. Place Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until slightly crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the oil behind. Dredge the ribs in the seasoned flour, making sure to shake off any excess flour.
Add ribs to pan in batches; brown on all sides. Transfer ribs to a plate and set aside. Add vegetables and sauté until browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved marinade to deglaze pan. Stir well with a wooden spoon, add the veal stock and porcini liquid to the pan. Return ribs and bacon to the pan, bone-side up; bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer, covered, but with the lid cracked on the stove top until ribs are tender, about 2 hours, 45 minutes. **
3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, sauté porcini mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter for about 3-5 minutes. Deglaze with 2 tbsp of cognac, and set aside.
4. Transfer ribs to platter and cover with foil. Strain cooking liquid into a saucepan. Discard vegetables. Bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat and skim fat. Whisk in the beurre marié and continue to cook until sauce has thickened. Add porcini mushrooms and return ribs to the pot. Adjust seasoning and serve.
** You can stop at this point and refrigerate the dish overnight to allow the fat to rise to the top and harden making it easier to remove. Refrigerate the porcini mushrooms as well and begin at Step 3 when you are ready to serve the short ribs.
You also may want to cook the ribs a little longer, depending on the size of your ribs. Mine were fairly large and were very tender. However, if you like the meat literally falling off the bones, you may need to cook them a little more than 2 hours and 45 minutes. I like to serve mine with the meat still on the bone.