Happy 2018! And with the new year came the cold and snow. And no, I am not complaining because I like the snow. Last night we got 16 inches of the stuff and today we are in the deep freeze. You know that that means? Comfort food! Last night I made this lovely stew: Red-wine braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs, with Root Veggies. Some of the ribs were so big that they could have been mistaken for mini-pot roasts. Super tender and flavorful! Nom nom nom!
6 pounds or so, of meaty bone-in short ribs, in 6 pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, very finely chopped
4-5 strips of breakfast bacon, in 1 inch pieces
4 tablespoons of butter
2 red onions, diced to 1/2 inch dice
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
3 cups red wine (I used merlot)
3 cups chicken stock
1 “More than Gourmet” Demi-Glace Stock “puck” (optional)
1 pound small (2 inch) yukon golf potatoes
1/2 pound carrots, cut to 2 inch pieces
1/2 pound parsnips, cut to 2 inch pieces
On the morning of the day you’re cooking the ribs (or the night before), rub them generously with salt and pepper and the tablespoon of thyme. Wrap them up, or put them in a pan and cover them, and refrigerate them all day (or even overnight) until ready to cook.
Preheat your oven to 325F. On the stovetop, in a large Dutch oven, render your bacon. Don’t let it get too crispy as you will then have burned bits in your dish. Once rendered, remove the bacon and save for another purpose (or snack on them). Return about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to the pot and add 1 tablespoon of butter and heat over medium-high heat, until foaming. Brown the ribs on all sides, working in batches so they aren’t crowded while browning, adding more
bacon fat and butter as needed. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate and set aside.
Turn the heat down a bit, add another chunk of butter, and stir in the chopped vegetables (including the onion and garlic). Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly browned. Add the red wine, scrape all the browned bits from the bottom into the wine, bring to a boil and add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Simmering gently, reduce the liquid by half. Then stir in the chicken stock and heat to boiling. Nestle the short ribs back into the pan, standing them on their sides, and surrounding them with the liquid and vegetables, but not fully covering them. Pour in any of the meat juices that accumulated on the plate as well. Put the cover of the Dutch oven on and put it into the oven to braise for 3 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven, uncover and transfer the short ribs to a baking sheet. Turn the oven up to 425F and stick the ribs in for 10 minutes (or a little less) until the are lightly browned on the outsides.
In a large pot with salted water, boil potatoes, carrots and parsnips until just tender. Drain and set aside, covered, to keep warm.
In the meantime, pour the remaining liquid from the Dutch oven through a colander to remove the spent vegetables, return to the work bowl and skim the fat off the top of the broth. Bring the juices to a boil, then simmer until thickened slightly. Add in the contents of the stock puck for an extra boost of flavor. Return the browned ribs and veggies to the sauce.