Anyway, 'tis the season for braising and short ribs (Life After Lobster is on the same wavelength).
Okay I'll start writing the recipe.
Adapted from Epicurious/Daniel Boulud
Note 1: The quantities of liquid used in this recipe are astounding. As-TOUN-ding. I found it to be a bit much, which I've noted below.
Note 2: I used grass-fed beef, which is much leaner than corn-fed beef. According to the guy at the farmers' market, grass-fed beef needs to be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. I've noted in the instructions the temp/time for grass-fed as well as corn-fed beef.
- 3 bottles dry red wine (next time, I'll just use 2) (if I ever make this again)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
- Salt and crushed black peppercorns (I just used ground pepper)
- Flour, for dredging (about 3/4 cup)
- 8 large shallots, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed and dried
- 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 2 ribs of celery, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 medium-sized leek (white and light-green parts), coarsely chopped, washed and dried
- 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 quarts unsalted beef broth (this, at least for my 5 1/2 quart dutch oven, was WAY too much--I only needed 1 quart, at most)
I can't believe I cooked with these instead of drinking them. It hurts a bit. Still.
Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When hot, light with a match and let the flames die out.
Yeah, wanna see how that whole "light on fire" thing went? Prepare yourself.
Now light the match (or flame stick thingy). Careful now.
Yup, nothing. Stil nothing.
Anyway, bring the sucker up to a boil, and let it boil until reduced by half. This probably took at least 20 minutes. I'm sorry I didn't time it. I had no idea what "half" was.
Set the reduction aside.
Heat the oven to 275 degrees (for corn-fed beef, heat to 350 degrees).
Then, heat oil over medium high heat in large ovenproof pot (if my experience is any indication, you don't want anything less than a 5-quart pot).
Pat your short ribs dry with a paper towel. Season well with salt and pepper on all sides.
Did someone hear an angel sing.
Dredge each short rib in flour and shake off the excess.
Working in batches if necessary (which it probably will be), brown short ribs on all sides, about 3-4 minutes on each side. That is not an absolute rule. It was very touch and go for me.
Get all sculptural to make sure all sides can be browned. The things I do.
Remove browned short ribs and set aside.
If you have a lot of fat in the pot (heehee that sounds funny), drain all but 1 TBS. With the leaner grass fed short ribs, I didn't need to drain. Lower the heat to medium.
Add the veggies/aromatics and tomato paste to the pot and stir until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
Still needs some browning. Can't say that it really happened DANIEL I FAILED YOU.
Add the wine reduction, short ribs, and enough broth to the pot to just cover short ribs.
Cover tightly with lid and place in oven for...5 hours. Yes, I said 5 hours. Dude, that's what the farmers market guy told me. If you're using corn-fed beef, 2 1/2 hours will do.
Check every once in a while to see if you need to add more liquid (I didn't need to--I mean, the thing is covered, how much liquid is actually going to evaporate?).
This is what mine looked like after ffiiiiivveeee hoooouurrrsss...
At this point, if you want to, let the pot cool down and refrigerate overnight (or, as apropos for cold weather, stick it outside in the freezing weather). If you do this, you will be easily able to remove a huge hunka fat from the liquid. If you don't do this, just skim off as much fat as you can, and skip to the step after the next two pictures.
This is what the mixture looks like after a night of chilling:
It's like a creme brulee (but not), where you can crack through the surface and remove a good part of the fat in chunks.
After you've gotten rid of some of the fat (whether by chilling or just skimming), carefully remove the short ribs. They should be falling apart at this point, so handle gently.
Um, I think there's a third angel.
Bring the liquid to a boil until it has reduced to about 1 quart. So, I don't know about you, but I don't know what a "quart" is on sight, so I just kinda winged it. Took at least 15 minutes.
Strain the liquid and discard the solids. Season liquid with salt and pepper. I put the liquid back in the pot, but it's ready to serve at this point so do what you will.
Because my short ribs were kind of cool from the overnight chilling, I gently nestled them back in the liquid and warmed them over a gentle simmer.
Looks like Willy Wonka's river of chocolate. Or a swamp of chocolate.
Serve each short rib with some of that precious liquid. Serve with whatever. I couldn't have cared less at this point. Just gimme the damn short ribs already.
This was a labor of love, although most of the time is waiting time. In any case, it was worth it.