Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Season of Short Ribs

I feel as though I have spent the last year trying to disavow my love of meat. I think it is fair to say that I’m quite conflicted. Some months have been more successful than others – July and August were a breeze. Particularly if I discount the dinner my brother and I spent at the delicious meat-intensive restaurant Beast in 105 degree weather—consuming 5 courses as we did our best not to melt.

Summer was blissfully spent with corn, tomatoes, arugula, and peaches, but being the anticipatory eater that I am, I was already plotting my braised meat dishes for fall. Fortunately, I have a like-minded friend who not only loves to plot meals months ahead of time with me, but also insists on wearing a nubby sweater while eating braised meat and drinking red wine for the total autumn experience. And so it came to pass this October, that we wore nubby sweaters on a perfect crisp fall day, and made what might just be one of the most delicious of all fall dishes— mushroom braised short ribs

I have frequently made this dish in the dead of winter— most often for Christmas dinner. One of the reasons I love this dish so much on Christmas is that, after a modest amount of chopping and seasoning, you can leave the meat to its own devices for a good four hours. In my family, this means that our championship Trivial Pursuit game can continue without interruption. I love to serve this with egg noodles and a crisp salad beforehand. I won’t lie to you, it is a rich meal, and one that might inspire you to take a nap, but it is just so goooood.

* Note: Unless I’m preparing for 6-8 people, I often half the recipe.


* This is adapted from “Tom Valenti’s Soups, Stews and One-Pot
Meals” by Tom Valenti and Andrew Friedman.

Total time: 4 1/2 hours after overnight seasoning
Yield: 6 servings
6 pounds short ribs (about 6 pieces)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
9 cups store-bought, reduced-sodium beef broth
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dried morel or porcini mushrooms, rinsed under running water to
remove grit

1. Day before cooking, season ribs with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Heat olive oil in roasting pan over medium-high heat until hot but
not smoking. Add ribs and brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side.
Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan. Add onion, celery,
carrot and garlic to pan. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned,
about 8 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, broth, thyme and bay leaf. Stir in
mushrooms. Bring to a boil over high heat.
5. Return ribs to pan, cover with foil and braise in oven for 1 hour.
Remove foil and cook 3 more hours, or until meat is very tender and
falling off bone.
6. To serve, remove ribs from braising liquid and divide among 6 warm,
shallow bowls. (Leave bones for dramatic presentation.) Strain braising
liquid, reserving morels and discarding other solids. Skim off and discard fat from liquid and pass as a sauce at the table.


Anonymous said...

It sounds so good that I'm almost licking my fingers...I'm wondering why we don't prepare this dish more often. You are so right in your description of it's ease and the aroma that cloaks the house while it's simmering is sublime! Thanks for the reminder of a wonderful dish.

Attia said...

Oh lord, I can't wait for this one...

blair said...

I can attest this recipe is good, nay great! It was the first thing I ever cooked form my girlfriend and i think its the primary reason she's still with me today.

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