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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs (or Pot Roast)


I can't even!

Tickle my ribs, this fancy-pants dinner was far too easy!

There's nothing complex about beef. You sear it, cook it and remember why you're not a vegetarian. The secret is knowing which types of cooking methods work for which type of beef. As a general rule, tougher cuts of beef do really well cooking low-and-slow while tender cuts of beef do better when cooked quickly. (Contrary to popular belief, if you slow cook a tender cut of beef, it actually comes out with a mealy texture.)

While pot roast is our favorite go-to for delicious home cooked simplicity, we've shamelessly adapted this amazing recipe from Twice-Cooked.com, my new favorite food blog right next to BenStarr.com. The flavor of this recipe reminds me of Julia Child's boef bourguignon but with a hint of spice and none of the fuss.

This is a great way to use up leftover red wine (We know, we know! What's that???) But seriously, while it's a little flat for drinking after being opened for 24 hours, you can actually put red wine in the fridge and will still taste great in cooking for up to a month. We always put my red wine in the fridge right after opening if we know we're only going to have a glass or two.

Bones impart a lot of flavor and the collagen from them makes the sauce taste really rich, not to mention how beneficial it is for your hair and skin. That said, ribs can be a crap shoot for tenderness and sometimes they're a bit fatty. Also, if you have a household that hates meat on the bone, your picky eaters won't be able to get past the bone no matter how delicious it is. If you want a sure bet, use a 4 lb beef chuck roast instead.

As mentioned in the beer braised pot roast recipe, the most decadent flavor for beef comes from searing it. The same goes for the onions, but there's an additional reason for searing the onions. Have you ever made a pot roast and then noticed it had a slightly metallic flavor? That's because the gas from onions reacts with the liquid to create sulfenic acid. MMmmmmm! Sulfenic acid braised pot roast anyone? I think not. Searing the onions releases most of the gas so you get a caramelized onion taste instead.

And if you're going to dirty up a pot searing both beef and onions, why not just toss the pot into the oven instead of creating extra clean-up by putting it in a crock pot? That's far too much work for a lazy person. :)



Ingredients:
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 8 beef short ribs (or a whole 4 lb chuck roast with bone in, trimmed of excess fat)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots, washed
  • 2 ribs of celery, washed
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups dry red wine
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 250F (not 350F!)
  2. Cut the ends off the carrots and celery, then cut into two or three large pieces. (It'll make them easier to fish out of the pot and throw away later.)
  3. Quarter and peel the onion.
  4. Smash the garlic with the side of a large knife (or a flat bottom glass) and throw away the peel.
    
    Smash the garlic with the blade of a big knife (or a flat bottom glass)
  5. Pour just enough olive oil to the bottom of a dutch oven to barely cover it. Heat over medium high heat until very hot.
  6. Salt half of the beef short ribs, then brown them about for a couple of minutes on each side. Use tongs to turn them over. (Wait until immediately before browning to salt them because salting them too early will draw out moisture - wet meat won't brown)
    
    Each side should be browned to about this color
  7. Remove the browned ribs to a plate, then repeat with the remaining ribs.
    
    All browned
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots and celery. Saute the onion until slightly browned, moving them around a bit with the tongs so that the onion layers separate. Stir in the seasonings.
    
    Browned vegetables
  9. Place the seared meat back into the pot, nestling them down in the vegetables.
    
    Nestle the meat in deep
  10. Add enough of the red wine to reach up 3/4 way up the sides of the meat. The wine should not cover the top of the meat.
    
    Add the wine and cover
  11. Place in the oven and cook for 3 hours.
    
    The hardest part of this recipe is having to live through the wonderful smell while it cooks!
  12. Remove the vegetables. Carefully move the meat to a plate and cover with foil.
    
    The meat will fall apart, so it will be a challenge to move
  13. Strain the juice to make gravy (discard the vegetables).
  14. Reduce the juices by half over high heat.
    
    How do you know when it's reduced by half? Dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the juices and mark a dot on it to indicate the depth before reducing.
  15. Reduce the heat to medium. Mix 1 1/2 tbsp flour and 1/4 cup water with a fork really well until there are no lumps, then whisk into the juices. Cook for about 2 minutes while whisking constantly to make a gravy.
    
    Slowly whisk in the flour and water mixture
  16. Serve the meat and gravy over mashed potatos or rice.
    
    We can't even!

2 comments:

  1. Looks delicious! Next time, maybe try it with star anise? Braised beef and star anise is one of my favorite combinations.

    (Glad you liked the recipe.)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for posting the original! I am excited to try some of your other recipes as well.

      I will totally try the anise. As I patiently suffered through the amazing aromas for 3 hours of cooking, I was thinking it would be great with 5-spice (which of course has anice).

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