Not to toot my own horn but I think that dinner invitations to my feasts ought to be the hottest ticket in town! HA! How pretentious does that sound? I only wish that my self-confidence matched my ego!
Nonetheless, last night we had hubby’s cousin and her son over for dinner. And, it’s fall. Fall for me means short ribs! How can you turn down the meaty, juicy, tender, fall-off-the-bone experience that is a perfectly cooked short rib? The easy answer is that you can’t! I serenaded my guests last night with just such short ribs in addition to oven roasted baby carrots with pearl onions in thyme butter and billowy garlic mashed potatoes. I finished with a caramelized banana, Irish lace cookie and vanilla ice cream. I did myself proud.
Just one technical note about the short ribs. I’ve used both boneless and bone-in short ribs and MUCH prefer the bone in variety. The meat that close to the bone is just full of the connective tissue that breaks down in a good, slow braise and is tender beyond compare. Sure, you have more fat to deal with but the taste is well worth it.
4 lbs bone in short ribs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 celery sticks, cleaned and cut into chunks
1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups red wine, I used Merlot
2 tbsp beef base
2 cups water or so
1 tsp dried thyme
3 dried bay leaves
1. Rinse the short ribs in warm water to remove any bone chips. Then pat them dry and sprinkle them lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a stainless steel frying pan or heavy dutch oven until nearly smoking and working in batches sear both sides of the short rib until dark brown and caramelized over a high heat. Don’t overcrowd your pan or you won’t get a good sear. And nonstick pans generally can’t get as good a sear as a stainless pan.
3. Set the short ribs in an oven-safe casserole dish with tight fitting lid. Toss the vegetables into the hot oil and let them brown for a few minutes; add the veggies to the beef when done.
4. Remove any excess oil from the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan. Add the wine to the casserole along with any bits from the bottom of the frying pan.
5. Add the beef base, bay leaves and thyme to the pan. Add enough water to be about halfway up the short ribs and vegetables. More and you will dilute the sauce, and any less and you won’t get a good braise. The meat and vegetables will give off a fair bit of liquid.
6. Put the lid on tight and bake in a 350 oven for about an hour. Then stir and turn the heat down to 325F and continue to bake for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You know its done when the meat has totally fallen off the bone and the meat is VERY tender.
7. Remove the meat from the liquid and strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or colander. You want to get out all the chunks of soft carrot, onion and celery.
8. Pour the strained liquid into a saucepan and heat over medium high heat for about 15 minutes or until it has reduced by a third. You can thicken it up with a bit of cornstarch slurry if you want at this point.
9. Adjust seasonings and pour back over the beef and put back into the oven for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
10. Enjoy over mashed potatoes or spaetzel!