I seem to have been on a braising jag as of late. I realized I was trying to braise and stew as much as I could before the hot weather sets in. I have an antique stove that is made of cast iron, and the last thing I want to do in the summer is heat it up.
I was browsing in Whole Foods the other day (some women go to Macy’s to browse, I go to Whole Foods) and wandered into the meat section. I just love to look at all the lovely cuts of meat to choose from, although I usually just pick up chicken and turkey. But this day the beef short ribs were calling to me. And being in a braising state of mind, I decided to buy some.
Short ribs are very fatty, and if you choose to you can trim them before cooking. I keep the fat on while cooking, then skim the fat from the sauce. My philosophy is Fat = Flavor! I also prefer to cook meat on the bone, as that also lends flavor and texture to the sauce. You can usually find short ribs cut into 3 inch lengths, with a generous chunk of meat attached to the bone. The meat is fairly tough, so they are best cooked low and slow, such as braising or even grilled over low, indirect heat.
Melt in Your Mouth Short Ribs
6 beef short ribs
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 TB ancho chile powder
2 TB olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup demi-glace (I used a concentrated demi-glace called Demi-Glace Gold found at cooking and gourmet stores) or 1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 12 oz. bottle lager beer
2 TB tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp dried thyme
Season the ribs with salt, pepper and ancho chile powder. In a large, deep pan heat oil over medium high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if needed. Remove the browned ribs from pan, and reserve. Add the onion and carrots to pan, and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the ribs back to the pan along with the remaining ingredients. Stir to dissolve the tomato paste, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook the ribs 1 hour, then turn over and continue to cook until the ribs are extremely tender and the meat is pulling away from the bone. This will take about 30 – 60 minutes.
Once the ribs are tender, remove them from the pan. As you can see from the above picture, there will be a copious amount of fat on the top of the gravy. Skim the fat off with a spoon, and dispose of it in the trash. In a blender or food processor, blend the gravy until smooth. Return the gravy to the pan, and adjust the seasoning as needed. If the gravy is too thick, add some water or stock to thin it to your desired consistency.
Make sure to serve these ribs with some buttery mashed potatoes so you can spoon this lovely and flavorful gravy over them.