Under the food blogger act of full disclosure i have to admit that i’m writing this post sitting in a Starbucks eating a two-days old turkey pesto sandwich with an over sweetened (and overpriced) cup of coffee. I wish i could have kept this secret to avoid ridicule but i’m trying to follow guidelines around here. Even with a lot of imagination it’s hard to picture the rich taste and melting texture of beef short ribs when you’re chewing on cellophane-flavored astronaut food. Why do they do this to people!?
Anyway, all i have left from these short ribs is a few pictures and the vivid taste memory of how delicious they are. I’m talking about uncontrollable-facial-spasms-causing kind of delicious. It’s a dish i served at a dinner party at Big Bossman’s a few days ago where one of the guest, a wealthy greek lady, proclaimed it to be the best thing she’s ever eaten in New York. I learned later she landed just two hours before dinner.. but that’s okay!.. I’m a take-the-compliment-and-run kind of guy.
A soul-warming braised short ribs with a springy garnish is a dish especially designed for uncertain, changeable weather. The best of both winter and spring on a plate. The kind of dish that will make your transition to warmer weather smooth like baby powder under your arm pits.. err … nevermind! It’s the kind of dish that tells you it’s almost time to run around in a Speedo, but not quite yet. It’s a tease, it’s pretty safe and it’s good… and I mean the jump-on-the-table-and-do-the-happy-dance kind of good.
Did i stress enough the run-around-the-block-and-hug-beautiful-strangers factor of deliciousness of this dish?
It’s fork tender!!! Ahhhhhhh!.. NOW i did.
I made a foamy ramp emulsion to accentuate the springiness of the sautee peas and fava beans but my non-existing photographic talents took care of that in a moron-with-an-expensive-camera-but-who-doesn’t-know-how-to-use-it kind of way. The foam vanished before i was ready to click. Prophetic! The mild onion-y flavor was there though and paired really well with the sweet carrot puree. The short ribs were slowly braised for 3 hours in lots of red wine, beef stock and aromatic vegetables. The cooking liquid was then strained and reduced some more to a beautiful and rich consistency. Here you have it.. a zenified interpretation of a beef stew. Enjoy!
Braised Short Ribs with Carrot Puree and Spring Vegetables
- Serves 6 to 8
For the beef short ribs:
- 2 bottles dry red wine
- canola oil
- 8 short ribs
- salt and black pepper
- 12 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 medium leek, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 1 bouquet garni made with parsley stems, thyme and bay leaves
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 8 cups veal or beef stock, or a combination
For the carrot puree:
- 6 large carrots
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and white pepper to taste
For the spring vegetables:
- 1 cup fresh peas, cleaned and blanched
- 1 cup fresh fava beans, cleaned and blanched
- 1 cup pearl onions, peeled and cooked
- mixed herbs
- chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
For the beef short ribs:
- Preheat the oven to 350″F
- Pour the wine in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and carefully light it with a match. Let the flames die down (it will take a few minutes) and continue reducing the wine by half. Set aside.
- Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large dutch oven and and brown them on all side in canola oil. Set them aside. Discard the oil, add a little olive oil without cleaning the dutch oven and add the aromatic vegetables and bouquet garni. Cook until the vegetables start to caramelize and add the tomato paste. Cook for 1 or 2 more minutes.
- Add the reduced wine to the pan along with the browned ribs and the stock. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and slide it in the oven and braise for 3 hours.
- It’s best at this point to carefully remove the ribs from the braising liquid, degrease and strain the liquid. Remove and discard the bones from the ribs. Place the ribs back in the liquid and refrigerate overnight. The next day degrease again, cover and warm the short ribs in an oven at 350’F until fork tender. Reduce the sauce and serve together.
For the carrot pureet:
- Peel the carrots and cut into chunks. Place in a pan and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Strain reserving some of the cooking liquid.
- Place the cooked carrots in the bowl of a food processor, add a little of the cooking liquid, butter, cumin and salt and pepper. Process until light and fluffy. Adjust seasoning and keep warm.
For the vegetables:
- Sautee the peas, fava beans and pearl onions in butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add a little chicken stock and glaze them. Add the herbs at the end.