Braised Short Ribs make a Hearty Winter Meal
Braising is a cooking technique I really enjoy during the winter months. The meat cooks slowly; the house fills with a wonderful aroma, and when done the savory meat falls off of the bone. There’s nothing more comforting or welcoming on a chilly day.
Braising increases the flavor and softens the texture of meat. The ingredients are simple. Typically, a tough cut of meat cooks with a medley of diced onions, carrots and celery, herbs and wine. The technique works with roasts, short ribs, lamb shanks or pork chops. Tougher cuts benefit the most when using this long, slow cooking process. This is not the dish to make if you’re in a hurry. It takes the better part of four hours to prepare, but only an hour of active time. The meat is first browned on all sides, transferred to a plate while the vegetables cook and then finished in a covered pot at a low temperature in the oven.
Serve in soup plates or shallow bowls, complemented with polenta, mashed potatoes, pasta or cheese grits and garnished with fresh parsley.
It is even better if cooked one day and reheated the next. A great make ahead meal.
3-½ pounds beef short ribs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups beef stock
Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer ribs to a plate.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Add onions, carrots and celery to pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for one minute. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in wine, add short ribs and any accumulated juices and bring to a boil. Add thyme and bay leaves then stir in stock. Bring to a boil again, cover and then transfer to oven.
Cook until ribs are tender, 2½ to 3 hours. Transfer short ribs to a serving platter.