Last week you learned how to cook delicious mushrooms and I hope that you were able to convert a few non-mushroom eaters with your dish. This week, I wanted to teach you how to cook short ribs. When cooked correctly they are succulent, comforting and fall apart tender.
Before we start cooking, let’s talk about short ribs. Short ribs come from the bottom part of the prime rib. The butcher cuts across the rib horizontally and that creates this cut of meat. When buying short ribs, you want them to be boneless, six inches long and about two inches thick. The butcher at your supermarket can help you get this cut.
Let’s start cooking!
This recipe will serve six people, for it you will need:
a large roasting pan
a large sauté pan (preferably non-stick)
5 pounds of boneless short ribs
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprik
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground coriander
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup + two tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large onion (diced)
2 large carrots (diced)
2 cups of red wine
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
6 whole cloves garlic (peeled)
salt and pepper
Now, don’t get alarmed by the long ingredient list. You will be preparing these ribs in two steps over two days, believe me, they are well worth the time.
The first step is to create a dry rub. In a large bowl combine the granulated garlic, smoked paprika, curry, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, Kosher salt and black pepper. Mix these spices until they are well combined. Now sprinkle both sides of the short rib with the dry rub and then shake any excess off. Why? Because of the brown sugar in the rub, if you leave too much on, it will burn when you sear the meat. Once you have the dry rub on the ribs, place them in a dish, cover with plastic and let them sit in the fridge overnight. This allows all those wonderful flavors from the dry rub to penetrate the meat.
So, now the ribs have been in the fridge overnight. Remove them and let them sit at room temperature for at least thirty minutes. This will give you a better sear on the meat.
Now, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Once the ribs have sat out at least 30 minutes, put ¼ cup canola oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium- high heat. Why non-stick? Well, later in this recipe, you are going to want to use that same pan to cook your vegetables, a non-stick pan can be simply wiped clean and then be ready to use again. If you use a standard pan, you will either have to dirty a second pan to cook the vegetables or stop and wash the first pan. So, the non-stick pan allows you to simply continue cooking with ease. When your pan is hot sear each side of the ribs for two minutes.
Once the ribs are seared, place them in the large roasting pan. Wipe your pan clean, reduce your heat to medium and add in the two tablespoons of canola oil.
Next, add the diced carrots and onion. Sauté those about five minutes, until the onions are translucent. Reduce your heat to medium-low and add in the tomato paste. You will cook the tomato paste with the veggies for about three minutes, stirring as it cooks. Remember, this technique is called “pince.” You do this because tomato paste out of the can is sweet and sharp. Using this method, you mellow out that flavor and give it some depth.
After the tomato paste has been cooked, add the red wine to the pan. Let it cook until it foams. When wine is at a boil, it foams. Next, add in the low sodium chicken stock and let it return to a boil. With the addition of the wine and stock, you have deglazed the pan and picked up all that fabulous flavor that the veggies and tomato paste left stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Once it is boiling, remove from heat and pour the liquid over the seared short ribs in the roasting pan. The method you are using to cook these ribs is braising. This type of cooking uses both dry and moist heat. The dry part was when you seared the ribs; the moist part is using the liquid you just cooked. The liquid needs to be ¾ up the short ribs, so only ¼ of the rib is exposed above the liquid. If you fall short, don’t panic; simply add some more low sodium chicken stock until you hit the right spot. Now, into the roasting pan throw in the thyme and the garlic cloves. Cover the pan tightly with foil and cook for three hours. By cooking them low and slow, they become super tender and full of flavor.
After three hours, remove from oven and remove the ribs from the roasting pan. If you like, you can strain the braising liquid into a large container and let it sit until the fat comes to the top. Remember to use a strainer because you don’t want the over-cooked veggies, sprigs of thyme, etc. in the liquid.
Now, skim off the fat and the remaining liquid becomes a beef jus that you can spoon over the ribs.
Finally, right before serving the ribs, salt and pepper to taste.
These ribs are great served with a creamy polenta, mashed potatoes or even on a baguette with cheese. As with any technique or recipe, the most important component is the cook’s heart. The heart is what creates delicious flavor.