Post Courtesy of Alejandra Owens of One Bite at a Time
My boyfriend is the carnivore in our relationship. While I’m not a vegetarian, I favor lighter fare. Also. I’m afraid of cooking beef. I can cook a perfect chicken breast, but that’s nothing to brag about.
I recently purchased a dutch oven with big dreams of braising and slow cooking all sorts of stuff. I was particularly excited about braising meats because it is virtually impossible to screw up braising meat. A quick sear, throw it in with stock, wine/beer and you’re set. Three hours later you have fall-off-the-bone, tender, delicious meat.
Enter short ribs. This was one of the first recipes I wanted to try with my new dutch oven. A quick search produced about fifteen recipes that were essentially the same – different only in their proportions. I settled on Seasonal Gourmet’s recipe as a guide, made a few tweaks and dove right in.
Braising involves a few very basic elements. If you have the basics down you can braise beef without a recipe. These include:
Searing – Some say you don’t have to sear the meat, and it certainly isn’t required but doing so will lock in extra juices as well add a nice flavor to the meat.
Acid – Most beef braising recipes I came across used red wine as an acid. I know some folks like to use beer. Tomatoes or a tomato sauce can also be an acid. The point being you need something that will help tenderize and break down the tough tissue in the meat.
Stock – Beef stock or chicken stock, this adds overall flavor and depth to the dish. Also it’s important if you don’t want to burn the heck out of the meat. You don’t want that.
Aromatics – Herbs, herbs, herbs! Using cooking twine to tie a bunch of your favorite fresh herbs together, add a couple smashed garlic cloves.
Braising is very easy and a very low maintenance way of cooking. One of my favorite things about braising the short ribs was that I got to walk away for hours at a time. I went and ran five miles…literally. I did laundry and cleaned my apartment. Three hours later I had a delicious meal that satisfied my carnivore’s craving.
Enjoy! Recipe after the jump!
PS – For more on braising check out this great podcast on the subject by Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton called Spilled Milk.
Slightly Adapted from Seasonal Gourmet
- 2-1/2 lbs. (about 1 kg) beef shortribs – about 2 to 3 large meaty ribs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil such as canola or safflower
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups red wine
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 cups beef stock
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- In a dutch oven, heat oil on medium heat. Add the ribs to the pot and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove from pot and set aside.
- Add carrots, onions and celery to the pot and sauté until softened and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
- Stir tomato paste into vegetable mix. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add wine, garlic and herbs. Turn heat to medium-high and simmer for about 10 minutes, until mixture begins to reduce. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
- Add stock and return ribs to pot. Cover tightly and put in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, checking on them each hour to ensure nothing is burning at the bottom of the pot. The meat should be very tender.
- Once the ribs are done, use tongs to remove the ribs from the sauce. Place meat in a bowl and set aside. With a mesh strainer, strain sauce into a saucepan, pressing on solids to extract all liquid. Discard solids.
- Bring strained sauce to a boil and reduce for about 10 minutes. Add a teaspoon of flour at a time and whisk well to create a thickened gravy. Pour sauce or gravy over ribs and serve.