It’s a rare occasion that I buy short ribs around here. They’re usually so expensive, I don’t even bother. But, last week they happened to be on sale – so I went ahead and treated us to a giant bulk package deal. As you can imagine, the men-folk in my life were ecstatic.
So I did what any other gal would do, and braised them in red win for a few hours. This recipe calls for making a vegetable paste by combining carrots, celery, and onion in the food processor. It seems weird, and you’ll question this odd step- but just trust in Anne Burrell. That veggie paste is the key to the awesomeness of the sauce. It breaks down, and all the earthy flavors from the browned veggies just becomes a part of the rich, meaty sauce.
I went super simple for sides and served mashed potatoes and green beans to go with. But, I think something like a polenta to make a bed for the tender short ribs and sauce would be just phenomenal – and make it a little more special. This was a wonderful dish that I know I’ll be coming to again and again. A classic.
Braised Short Ribs
12 bone-in short ribs (about 3.5 pounds)
ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
2.5 cups dry red wine (Merlot or Cabernet)
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves
Season each short rib generously with salt and pepper. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.
Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.
Source: adapted from Anne Burrell