So lately it seems that everywhere I look people are making braised short ribs. I turned on the TV there is Ina braising away, hop on the internet and its a featured recipe, go out to eat and its a special! So when I saw them on sale at my local meat market I decided to give it a go. I read a few recipes and they all seemed pretty similar so I winged it when I got in the kitchen. Its really was not that hard to make, a little prep of what you have on hand and then in the oven it goes for several hours. I have to admit for my first try it was not perfect but thanks to M we were able to rectify that.
Ok so here is what is did…..
First I seasoned the ribs heavily with salt and cracked black pepper. Then I rendered some pork fat down (I used salt pork rinsed with a little vegetable oil, but bacon would have been great if I had had it on hand). When the fat was nice and hot I removed the crisp pork fat and laid the ribs in the pot in a single layer to sear. I seared on all sides about 10 minutes or so and removed to a plate. To the pot I added 1 onion chopped, 1-2 carrots diced, 3 stalks celery diced, 2 small leeks sliced and rinsed, 4 cloves garlic smashed, and about 1 cup quartered mushrooms. Sauteed until translucent. Added some fennel seed (about 1 T.) and dried rosemary (about 1 T.) then 1 T. tomato paste when all was incorporated I added a few glugs of balsamic vinegar then 2 cups of a heavy dry red wine. I let that all cook down a bit then added some fresh thyme sprigs and the ribs back to the pot and covered with water. I would have used stock but I was all out and really I don’t believe it would have mattered much; it makes a pretty rich sauce as it is. I covered the pot and transferred to a preheated 250° oven for 4 hours.
Now it smelled great and after 4 hours I was hungry and I thought “4 hours it has to be done!” It was “done” but not “done” if you know what I mean. But instead of putting it back in the oven I decided to listen to my stomach and took the ribs out of the pot and put the pot on the burner set to med/high to reduce the sauce and skim the fat. This took too long for me (again the stomach) so I added a mixture of cornstarch and water to thicken it. This made a nice gravy but not too thick. When I served it it was still not perfect, the meat was not tender enough and the gravy just not thick enough for us. So this is where M came in and saved the dish. He took the meat out and cut it up in big chunks added them back to the pot and put the pot on a medium flame covered for about 45 minutes. This second cooking made the dish! It was perfect, the meat was very tender and the gravy thick and hearty with all the flavors concentrated wonderfully. All it took was a little patience, which incidentally is not my strong suit. Well without further ado here is the finished product. Here it is served with rice, we also had buttered noodles, and mashed potatoes! Not really all at once, just that we didn’t know what we wanted (potatoes were the favorite with this!)