Monday, January 17, 2011

Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes

What's better inspiration to make short ribs than being on sale at the supermarket? Other than a desire to have an excuse to stay in my apartment all Saturday afternoon pretending to slave over the stove and get mondo credit for making yummy food. Nothing! That's what.

Here's a recipe that tastes difficult but is actually not so. You can make it for a small dinner party and not have to worry about timing the meal too much.
There are many short rib recipes out there but the gist of it is:
1 - sear meats
2 - add veggies for flavor
3 - deglaze pan with liquids makes the sauce
4 - pop it in the oven to cook meat until super tender

Boom. Done.

Ok, maybe not that simple. So I adapted a recipe & techniques from The Pioneer Woman:

Admittedly hers sounds super divine...but she used pancetta! I couldn't do it! New Year's / health concerns and all. But anything with pork fat's bound to be good. I don't want to sell my adaptation short so just try it.

Braised Short Ribs
Serves 2 generously (or with leftovers for lunch)

2 lbs bone-in short ribs (approx. 4-6 pieces)
Salt & pepper (for ribs and later for sauce)
~ 1/2 cup all purpose flour for dredging
2 tablespoons of olive oil (OR alternatively you can be naughty and use bacon fat)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions (and / or shallots)
1-1 1/4 cup red wine (or white, or possibly just more stock)
1.5 cups stock (beef, chicken, or veg - whatever's on hand)
1-2 whole sprigs of fresh rosemary and/or thyme

This recipe uses a dutch oven / cast iron pot which is not necessary. The first time I made short ribs, I couldn't find recipes that didn't call for a dutch oven or were done stove-top. I ended up using a regular pot and instead of putting it in the oven, I kept it on low low heat for approximately the same amount of time. Or you can use a deep roasting dish and cover with tin foil.

Preheat oven to 400F. Dice veggies before handling meat.
Sear the Ribs
Dry each piece of defrosted short rib. Sprinkle meaty sides with salt and pepper. On a separate plate of flour, dredge all 6 sides in flour and shake off any excess.
Keep a plate handy for seared ribs. In a large pot or dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat. When the oil is hot (sizzles violently with a drop of water), place ribs spread out in pot all on the same side down. Allow to brown/sear on each side for 30-45 seconds. Short ribs should look a nice carmely brown. Yum. Your dog will be looking for you in the kitchen.
Remove ribs to a separate plate. Do not clean the pot. In the same pot as the ribs, if needed add a tablespoon of oil. Dump in your cup of carrots and onions. Allow veggies to cook a few minutes to soften.

Deglaze the Pot
Add the cup of wine to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to pick up all the brown bits from the seared meat. Bring wine to a boil. Allow to boil for a couple minutes to reduce the wine.

Braise the Ribs!
Add stock (I used low sodium chicken) to pot. Place the short ribs back into the pot meaty side down into the liquid. The liquid should almost totally submerge the rib. (Braising something means to cook not totally submerged in liquid). Add the sprig or 2 of fresh rosemary (leave the leaves on the stem).
Slow Cook in the Oven
Put the lid back onto the pot (or cover tightly with foil). Place in 350F oven for 2 hours. Reduce oven temperature to 325F. Leave pot in oven for another 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven. Meat should be tender and almost falling off the bone. Leaving top covered, allow meat to rest for 20 minutes (or as long as you can hold out).

 This last step with the oven is the long part...these times are suggested for meat to fall off the bone but if it doesn't necessarily take that long to cook the meat / reduce the liquid to sauce. Watch a movie, give yourself a mani.

Before serving, remove the fresh herb stems. Skim off some of the fat at the top of the sauce. Serve approximately 1-2 short ribs per person on top of mashed potatoes, polenta, or rice. Spoon some sauce on top.

During the "Slow Cook" portion, make the side that will soak up the short rib sauciness.

Mashed Potato Interlude
For the potatoes, I didn't add cheese, heavy cream, etc. I'm sure it'd be super tasty. These were still good and less bad for you (I'm not going to say they are healthy). I used Yukon Gold potatoes b/c they are sweet and creamy.

6 medium sized (fits in your palm) Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
~ 1/2 cup of whole milk
Salt to taste (less if you use salted butter)

Start pot of water to boil. Add couple tablespoons of salt. The potatoes will soak up the saltiness.

Keeping the skin on (optional), wash the potatoes well and cut off any questionable looking parts (green or dark brown spots). Cut potatoes into eighths for easier cooking. Dump into pot.

Bring water to boil. Cook potatoes until there is little resistance when poked with a fork, approximately 10-15 minutes? Drain potatoes in collander. Reserve potato cooking water if you prefer to use less milk.

Return potatoes back to the same pot on low heat. Start mashing with a potato masher or a large metal spatula and wooden spoon. Allow potatoes to evaporate water/steam for about 5 minutes / the time it takes to smash it all. Add cubed butter. Stir to melt. Add milk and stir. Add more milk for less thick mashed potatoes. I like mine chunky, monkey. Salt to taste.

See? 4 hours later. Boom. Done.


Jessica said...

We are super carnivores in my house but I've never made short ribs, this sounds too easy, I'm putting this on my TO-MAKE list for next week! :D

Mrs. Hot Cocoa said...

Yum. I just made beef stew this weekend b/c I couldn't find short ribs at TJ.

Annie said...

good job amy! i'm sure mom would like you to make this at home!

lavenderpug said...

oh yum! those look awesome. having a major hunger pang now.

BigAppleNosh said...

YUM. I love short ribs and carbs. This looks like a winner!