Friday, December 24, 2010

Short Rib

There are so many ways to do short ribs.  I think the best are braised.  This is a recipe I often use.  It is time consuming but worth the effort.  But after a few easy steps this cooking process allows you time to work on other things like chores, the kids, homework, work work, or side dishes.  I often make these ribs for my family on New Years Day and use half of the remaining cooking liquid to cook nice fatty noodles, like Polish butter noodles or noodles that I make using my pierogi dough, cut into bite-sized pieces.  Oh my, it's so good, here it goes:
6 bottles of Bell's Beer or another brown ale or even Belgium Beer, careful for beers with high hop content as they make a more bitter braise.
3 cups veal stock or beef stock
2 carrots, chopped in mirepoix or large dice
1 onion, same
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 garlic cloves in skin
4 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
flour to dust ribs
1 1/2 t Kosher salt
Cracked Pepper
3 T canola oil
Place the beer in a large enough sauce pan and bring it to a boil, once boiling, reduce heat and add aromatic veggies: carrot, fennel, onion, garlic.  Turn off heat and let it cool to room temp.  Line short ribs in a shallow pan, pour beer and veggies over the short ribs, place in refrigerator for one day. 
The next day remove the short ribs to a plate or tray and place flour on another plate (for dusting).  Pour the beer marinade through a strainer into a sauce pan, reserve the veggies on the side.  Bring the beer marinade to a boil.  This is going to be like the clarifying with egg white process.  The proteins from the meat which transfer into the marinade will form a raft, let this simmer for about 20 minutes to 40 minutes and then strain through coffee filter.  Reserve the liquid on the side.  In a large skillet add about 1 T canola oil being careful to not overheat.  Cook the veggies till they are nice and caramelized and transfer them to your roasting pan.  Use a large enough pan that ribs will fit in a single layer and you can cover them with the liquid without it being too full.  Next flour the meat and add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the skillet and brown each piece of meat for about 2 or 3 minutes on each side.  Place in the roasting pan when finished in even layer over the veggies.  Next add the clarified beer marinade along with the veal stock, enough to cover all the ribs, add the thyme and bay.  Here you can add 1 1/2 t kosher salt and pepper, and some secret ingredients like a tablespoon of anchovy paste and a tablespoon of tomato paste for Umami.  Cover pan with parchment paper lid-a piece of parchment cut out to fit perfectly inside the pan with a small hole in the center for steam to escape or with a regular lid or aluminum foil.  Place in a 275 degree oven for 5-6 hours for boneless and 3-4 hours for bone-in.  After cooking time is up-you'll know when they are done because they will be seeming to fall from the bone or be very tender to the touch.  I always cook one extra piece when I do anything I'm uncertain of so that I can poke, prod and test it.  So once they cooled, gently remove them from the liquid and reserve warm.  Strain the cooking liquid and discard the veggies.  Allow to cool and skim the fat from the top of the cooking liquid.  Strain cooking liquid again through cheese cloth or something very fine to catch any particles.  Add liquid to a pan and reduce till nice and saucy.  It will thicken on it's own.  Also, if you are going to do something like add a hearty vegetable like potato- you can reserve half of the liquid to cook the potato in or use half of the liquid like I do, add a more little stock or water and use it to cook noodles in, even store bought egg noodles work for this.  Note: that if you aren't serving immediately you can hold the sauce and meat in airtight containers for several days.  Also you can make it gluten-free by elminating the flour dusting.
You can change this recipe up by eliminating the beer and adding red wine, you can do it alcohol-free and use only stock, or you can change the dynamic entirely and use an Asian inspired marinade-sake, mirin, soy, sesame oil, lemongrass, carrots, green onions, shallots, chili flakes, fish sauce (instead of anchovy), kombu (instead of tomatoes)... I'd serve it over sticky rice with a slaw of bok choy, carrot and charred scallion  dressed in rice wine vinegar and sugar...and siracha sauce.  I'm so hungry.

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