Monday, January 12, 2015

Red Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs

 When the weather gets really cold, the first thing I want to cook is something warm and cozy, something that cooks for several hours in the oven, and makes the whole house smell good. Whether it's a beef stew or a roast, it always brings back childhood memories of my mom cooking for my family.
 This is a dish that falls into that category. It's delicious and comforting and always hits the spot. It's also perfect for an intimate and elegant dinner, served with a nice glass of wine and some warm freshly baked bread. It looks and sounds impressive, but no one has to know how easy it is to make! TBH, I'm not even sure where I got this recipe. It's very similar to the way I do a Classic Beef Pot Roast, and it always comes out perfectly. I PROMISE you will love this. It's just absolutely one of my favorite dishes of all time.

4-5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2-3" pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped 
2 ribs celery, chopped 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine, such as Cabernet Savignon
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley 
8 sprigs thyme 
4 sprigs oregano 
2 sprigs rosemary 
2 fresh or dried bay leaves 
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise 
4 cups low-salt beef stock 

 Preheat oven to 350°.
Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tbs drippings from pot.
Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2 1/2 hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned over.

-Always choose a wine that you would like to drink, and never use anything called "cooking wine."
-If you don't have fresh herbs, go ahead and use dried ones, but fresh herbs are just SO much better in this instance.
-Many recipes of this type only use the aromatics to flavor the sauce but then discard them afterwards. I think that is just wasteful. So I still strain the sauce, but then I save the aromatics and serve the vegetables along with the rest of the dish. I always peel and chop the garlic cloves and I also tie the sprigs of herbs into a bundle for easy removal. (neither of which is required if you are choosing to strain and discard the aromatics.)


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