This entry is part 112 of 123 in the series Comfort Foods
The weather is starting to turn cooler and I am in the mood for comfort foods. I knew The Artist would be busy at work today and may be delayed getting home, so I wanted something I could make and that wouldn’t be ruined if it had to sit for an extra hour or two. A slow braise would be perfect.
I rumbled through my freezer and sure enough I had a package of beef short ribs. They are a very tough cut of meat, usually cut into 2 to 3-inch lengths, they have a large flat bone running through the center of them and a lot of connective tissue. Whenever you have this combination, you need a slow, gentle cooking method to melt the connective tissue and make the meat tender. Braising, cooking proteins in liquid over low heat for a long time, is the perfect way to transform tougher meats into mouthwatering meals.
A pile of short ribs just waiting for the oven!
The beauty of slow-cooked foods is that they can be made ahead and kept warm for a long time without any degradation of quality. They can also be cooled, refrigerated for a day or two, and then reheated. Most of the time the flavors are actually improved on the second day because they have had time to blend and intensify.
Beautifully browned ribs ready to be added to the vegetables and slowly braised
- Beautifully browned ribs ready to be added to the vegetables and slowly braised
- When you first look at the recipe, don’t be intimidated by the ingredients. Most of them are vegetables and seasonings you already have in your cupboard, and if you don’t, you should. Adding a little tomato paste and soy sauce to the vegetables as they cook down really amps up the flavor. Many of the classic recipes use either bacon or pancetta, but I decided that since I had a little bacon fat left over after making spinach salad a couple of days ago, I would add a little of that to also boost the meat and add a touch of smokiness.
- Simmering pot of pure comfort!
- I used my trusty enameled cast iron Dutch oven, a kitchen workhorse if there ever was one. It is truly remarkable how well it conducts heat. Once it heats up, reduce the heat to medium or it will get too hot. You can also make this in a slow cooker, just brown the meat first in a skillet and transfer the meat and all of its juices to the slow cooker, add in the vegetables, seasonings, and liquids. Then cook on High for about 4 to 5 hours.
- Tonight I served this over luscious mashed potatoes but it would be equally as good over creamy polenta or cooked noodles. You could serve a beautiful loaf of artisan bread as well. You just want to be sure to have something to mop up all that wine-enriched sauce!
- As the weather continues to dip at night and we head into winter, I hope you put this on your regular menu rotation. It is so good and filling when we need it most.
- Have a fabulous weekend and we’ll see you next week for Chocolate Monday!
- Jane’s Tips and Hints:
- Whenever you are cooking with wine, always use a wine that you would enjoy drinking on its own. The bottles sold labeled “cooking wine” are truly unpalatable and will ruin your food. It doesn’t have to be an expensive bottle, but remember that it will impart a flavor to the dish and you want that to be a positive experience for everyone!
- Gluten-Free Tips:
- Use gluten-free flour blend for thickening and leave out the kecap manis or substitute gluten-free soy sauce.
- Slowly Braised Beef Short Ribs with Red Wine
- © 2013 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
- Yield: about 4 servings
- This dish takes about 30 minutes of active work and then you forget about it in the oven for a couple of hours. The flavors improve if you let this rest overnight in the refrigerator, making it perfect for parties or make this over the weekend and serve it during the week on busy days.
- 4 to 5 lb beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch lengths
- 2 tbsp organic olive oil
- 1 tbsp bacon fat (or more olive oil)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 carrots, finely chopped or shredded
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, split in half lengthwise, cores discarded, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp flour (or gluten-free flour blend or rice flour)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), or a pinch of sugar (use sugar if you are gluten-free)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder, optional
- 2 cups dry red wine (plus more for drinking!)
- 2 cups beef broth or stock (or beef base dissolved in water)
- 1 cup water
- Mashed potatoes, soft polenta or cooked noodles, for serving