Friday, September 6, 2013

Wine Braised Short Ribs

This is a very special and exciting time of the year. Well… sometimes. It’s the time of the year when the windows and grass are covered with frost, and the car doors start to get iced shut; requiring some grunting, expletives and finally relief when the door opens with a satisfying little crunch.
This also means that we can start cooking things where the oven is on for a long time, and the extra heat is actually welcomed. I was downright giddy this weekend when I got to prepare one of my all time favourite dishes for family and friends.
Braised Short Ribs!
Short ribs are not what you imagine when you usually think of ribs. First, and most importantly, they are beef not pork. When you get them at the store they will look like little rectangles of beef with a bone running through them. The ones that I had were purchased from Tarrymore Farms- their short ribs and brisket are a staple in my household!
When you get your ribs, you might have to separate them. Simply cut between each rib, and we’re ready to rock and roll. You can get them at Maltese, just go to the meat counter and ask the fine folks there to get you some.. and they're even cut to order!
I have purchased these at Quality Market on Oliver as well- so you might just have to call around to get your hands on some.

Braised Short Ribs
5 pounds of short ribs
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T tomato Paste
¼ cup or red wine
2-4 cups of braising liquid (wine, beer or beef stock)
Olive oil
Thyme, rosemary, bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven. Salt and pepper your ribs while you are waiting. When it is hot add a layer of short ribs, searing the outsides and flipping with tongs to brown all sides. Remove from pan and set aside, and repeat with remaining ribs. (I place the ribs in the overturned lid of the Dutch oven, so I can just slide them and all of the accumulating juices back into the pan.) So, all ribs should now be seared and removed from the pot.
Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot, and cook until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic as well and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and stir to break up the thick paste.
Now we are going to deglaze. Deglazing is the process of adding liquid to help remove all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan; it helps amp up the flavor of a dish.  Add ¼ cup of red wine to the pot and the liquid will begin to bubble immediately. Using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pot until it is cleaned.
Now you are going to add the braising liquid. This is what is going to make the ribs, oh so tender. I like to use red wine for this as well, but if you don’t like the taste you can use beer or beef stock. Pour it in and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, and add your short ribs, and herbs.
Make sure the liquid covers at least 1 layer of ribs. If not, add a bit more liquid.
Put on the lid and place in the oven for about 2.5 hours. Check on the ribs every 45 minutes and flip them, so everything gets evenly cooked.

Ribs are done.
Now. Some folks prefer to plate the ribs, strain the sauce and then serve. But, after 3 hours of cooking I tend to get lazy. So I serve the ribs right from the pot. These are great with pasta, gnocchi, potatoes or risotto, but I am pretty certain that polenta takes the cake on this one.
Cook your polenta according to the directions, and place about ½ cup of it on the plate. Lay a rib or 2 over the polenta. Spoon some of the juice over the top, and finish with a grating of parmesan or pecorino.
Serve with a salad, veggies, or on its own if you’re just having one of those days.
What is your favourite cold weather dish?

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