Friday, April 1, 2011

Braised Short Ribs

6 beef short ribs (about 3½-5 pounds) cut in half (best to have your butcher do it)
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 shallots or ½ red onion, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
5 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons flour
¼ cup ruby port
3½ cups full-bodied red wine
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
6 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 ribbons of orange or tangerine peel, optional
Parsley, coarsely chopped

1. Season the short ribs with 2 teaspoons of salt and the 2 teaspoons pepper. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or metal Dutch oven over high heat until it is close to smoking. Brown the short ribs well on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the ribs and set aside. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat.
2. Lower the heat to medium, and add the carrots, onion, shallots, and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and light brown. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir well to combine. Add the port, red wine, celery, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by a third, about 20 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 325ºF while the wine is reducing.
4. Return the ribs to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Add the stock and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. The stock should barely cover the ribs. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours. (My 5 pounds took about 2½ hours.) Visit the pot occasionally to stir the ribs. They’re done when the meat is fork tender and falling off the bone.
5. Remove the bones and gelatinous material (scissors work well) from the ribs and transfer the meat to a bowl or plate. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a second bowl. Press on the vegetables to release as much liquid as you can. Discard or compost the solids. Return the sauce to the pan.
6. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a strong simmer. Add the cinnamon and orange peel, if desired. Check the consistency of the sauce. If it is like thick cream, you don’t need to do anything except warm it for a few minutes. If it is thin like skim milk, cook it over high heat until it thickens up a bit. If it is too thick, add a little more stock or wine and simmer gently to heat.
7. Return the ribs to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes to reheat. Remove the orange peel. Transfer to a warm serving platter or shallow bowl. Garnish with parsley and serve.

6 servings
Adapted from Keith McNally, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson’s The Balthazar Cookbook

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