Braised Beef Short Ribs

My father made the most succulent, tender, “Wow” beef short ribs this week. Yes, it is a 2 day process, but the actual hands-on cooking time is at most two hours, and is broken up over two days. It is really quite easy to make.

The key step is after the initial slow cooking, to let the ribs cool and then chill overnight in the refrigerator. This makes it much easier to remove the generous amount of excess fat that ends up solidifying in the chilling process. The beef ribs also spend the whole night absorbing the flavor of the stock.

You must use a good bottle of wine, the better the wine, the better the result. Veal stock can be hard to find, we got ours at our local butcher. Use it if you can get it, if not, beef stock will do. The recipe on which this dish is based came from the Campton Place restaurant in San Francisco. (We found it in a magazine years ago, but we can’t identify which magazine from the clipping.)

Ingredients

  • 12 beef short ribs, bone-in
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 750-ml bottle good dry red wine (we used a zinfandel)
  • 6 cups veal stock (can substitute beef stock)

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Season ribs to taste with the salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed ovenproof pan over high heat. Add ribs and brown on all sides. Work in batches if you need to so that the ribs don't get crowded (this will help with browning).

2 Transfer ribs to a plate. Pour off excess fat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan, set aside. Then add the wine to the pan, deglazing the pan, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by three-quarters until thick and slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes.

3 Return the ribs to the pan, add the veal stock and enough water to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil, cover with foil, and place in the oven. Braise, cooking in the oven, until the meat is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. During the last 1/2 hour of cooking, add back in the vegetables. Allow the ribs to cool in the liquid, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

4 The next day, remove the excess fat that has solidified at the top from the overnight chilling. Place the pan with the ribs and cooking liquid over medium heat, uncovered. Cook until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters, about 1 hour. Continue to cook, spooning the sauce over the ribs, until the sauce is thick and ribs are glazed. Take care not to burn the glaze; move the ribs around in the pan to keep them from burning.

Serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice.

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