Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Port-Braised Short Ribs

* Make Ahead * Weekend Meal*

I can often be seen skulking down the aisles of a grocery store, my shopping cart conspicuously full of 10 or so packs of short ribs. It’s a bit of an obsession (I have the same problem when I see oxtails) – I have to buy all the ribs available when my grocery store has them in stock. Maybe it’s the fear that other people will discover them or it could be the wicked gleefulness I experience when packing these gorgeous nuggets into the freezer. Either way, I am an addict.

We’ve tried quite a few recipes (Korean braised, red-wine braised, apple-juice braised) and this one is tops for sure. My neighbor hailed them as, “The best short ribs ever.” My husband couldn’t talk for the first 5 minutes of the meal as his mouth was constantly full. And the kid’s ringing endorsement of, “Mmmmm!” required no translation.

Although you could throw these together on a weeknight, I’d suggest making this meal on a cooler spring weekend. Once everything is in the pot, you can let it simmer as long as you have patience. For us that was about 2 hours and then the fighting forks came out. We served them over buttered egg noodles with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. Heavenly.

Port-Braised Short Ribs
Courtesy of Cook’s Country
Serves 4 to 6

5 lbs beef short ribs (6 to 8 English-style ribs)
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1½ cups ruby port
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Minute Tapioca
1 sprig fresh rosemary

First, let’s get our ingredients together. I always have everything out on the counter a) to make sure I know where everything is and b) to make sure I have everything (senility is a bitch!). (Please ignore the sand dollars in the background - we're still in the process of unpacking and my 20-month-old son has been helping.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375˚. Season ribs with salt and pepper and arrange bone-side up in roasting pan. Don’t worry if they’re crowded – they will shrink while cooking.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast until fat has rendered and ribs are browned, 1½ to 2 hours. Transfer ribs to paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons rendered beef fat and discard remaining drippings.

(While the ribs are cooking, cut up your onion, carrot, celery, garlic and parsley for garnish if desired.)

Reduce oven temperature to 300˚. Heat reserved fat in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onion, carrot, and celery until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, port, vinegar, tapioca, rosemary, and ribs to pot and bring to simmer.

Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened and ribs are completely tender, about 2 hours. Transfer ribs to serving platter. Strain and skim sauce. Serve, passing sauce at table. (For easier dining, I use a fork to shred the meat off the bone and serve it over egg noodles with some sauce ladled on top.)

Here is an up-close-and-personal look at the finished product. They are so succulent and juicy!

Make Ahead: Ribs and sauce can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, heat sauce and ribs together over medium heat until ribs are warmed through.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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