Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Dinners - Braised Short Ribs, etc.

This abnormally cold weather has pushed me indoors this week, though I find myself endlessly making lists of what I need to do once it's warm enough to work outside again (hopefully later this week). I've just placed two seed orders, and will go through the definitive order for spring annuals with the growers next week. Each time I walk by the windows, I add another thing to the list.

In the meantime, I have gotten sucked into the Barefoot Contessa marathons on The Food Network, and spent Thursday evening watching "Julie and Julia" on Demand. Between the two, it became clear that this weather demands a good hearty dinner.

I made Ina Garten's Short Ribs last night for dinner, with very minimal tweaking. (She is one of the few Food Network people who demonstrate recipes that actually work as presented.)

This is Ina's recipe for "Scott's Short Ribs", as presented, with my very minor changes noted. She says one rib per person in print, but served three per person on her show. I did two per person. As a result, for seven adults, I did 15 ribs.

6 (15) beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 onions)
4 cups large-diced celery (6 large stalks)
2 (1 lb) carrots, peeled and large-diced
1 small fennel, fronds, stems, and core removed, large-diced
1(3) leek, cleaned and large-diced, white part only (you can't usually buy just one leek)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (750-ml) bottle burgundy or other dry red wine (I used two)
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
6 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the short ribs on a sheet pan, sprinkle (heavily) with salt and pepper, and roast for 15 (25) minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel, and leek and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This step took longer for's important to caramelize the veggies in this step for flavor).Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour the wine over the vegetables, bring to a boil, and cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the rosemary and thyme together with kitchen twine and add to the pot.
Place the roasted ribs on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and add the beef stock and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover the Dutch oven and bake for 2 (or 3) hours or until the meat is very tender.
Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. Discard the herbs and skim the excess fat. (If you put the pot in the refrigerator for an hour, this process is much easier.) (Take pot out of the refrigerator, then.......)Cook the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for 20 minutes, until reduced. Put the ribs back into the pot and heat through. Serve with the vegetables and sauce. (This is an awesome dish to make the day before and reheat for guests). Lastly, since short ribs can be pricey, this works beautifully for a Chuck Roast or Brisket.

This is the perfect recipe to serve with a couple of bottles of wine (use the same wine you cooked with, if possible), and great bread. I also did "Rafael's Mother's Brussels Sprouts," which is like a heart attack on a plate, but I think a perfect accompaniment for this. I also like the fact that it is a real comfort food for Rafael, since his mom passed away many years ago.

3 lbs. Brussels Sprouts (they should be fresh)
1 lb. bacon, cut into 1/2" slices
6 oz. crumbled blue cheese

Trim and blanch the brussels sprouts in boiling salted water until tender. Drain. Separately, cook the bacon until crisp in a saute pan, and drain the bulk of the fat (leave about 2 t.) Toss the sprouts, the bacon and the blue cheese together, and pop into the oven for 10 minutes or so while you're heating the bread.

Ami brought the makings for hot fudge sundaes to dinner last night, which was the perfect end to a winter evening as we collapsed onto the sofa., if only my dining room looked a little more like this one......


  1. I love it when you write about your garden and show off the inspirational landscape, but I'm really excited about your recipe post. Sounds delicious. If you have a really good picture you should submit it to some of the online foodie communities.

  2. just sounds awesome....Im gonna give it a try;) thanx for sharing

  3. Ina is my favorite. I've tried lots of her recipes and they always turn out great. That is a gorgeous dining room!

  4. I may have to try this. I've never done short ribs. It sounds very hardy.