Today, I wanted comfort food. After making wine yesterday, and then The Dude working his tail off outside today, I wanted to make something that would be rich, comforting, and tasty. After all, The Dude gave up watching football today to clear out the barn to make room in our garage. He mumbled something about too much wine making equipment. Whatever could he mean?!
So, after much thought I decided on braised short ribs with polenta and steamed haricot verts. The house smelled like heaven when I was making this dish. (That is if heaven smelled like roasting meat, wine, garlic and onions.) I love braising because you really bring out rich flavors in some of the most overlooked cuts of meat. Remember though that this dish takes some time so make sure you have at least three hours before serving. Trust me, the smells coming from your kitchen will quickly make this slow cooking dish a favorite.
Braised Short Ribs
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil
- 6-8 pounds of short ribs (the thickest and meatiest you can find)
- 2 carrots, cleaned and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6 shallots, chopped
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 sprig thyme, 2 bay leaves
- 1 bottle full-bodied red wine (750 ml)
- 1/2 cup ruby port
- 3-4 cups low-sodium beef stock
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large, flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil and brown the meat on all sides. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan, saute the carrots, celery, onions and shallots for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in the tomato paste. Sprinkle with flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the meat, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, wine and port. Stir everything together and increase the heat to high and cook to reduce the liquid by half. Pour in the beef stock and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
Transfer the meat to a serving dish and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. At this point you can either strain the sauce through a sieve and return to the pan or serve it rustic style with the chunks of vegetable and garlic. I prefer the rustic gravy, especially when I’m serving it with polenta. If you do decide to strain it, cook over high heat to reduce the sauce. Pour the sauce over the short ribs and serve.