Braised Short Ribs

Posted on September 24th, 2010  |  Filed under Episode 116 « Sara's Weeknight Meals Season 1

Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total preparation time: 3 hours

This is actually an adaptation of a recipe by a very talented New York chef named Tom Valenti. Who (no pun intended) is known for his stick to your ribs cooking. We ran the recipe in Gourmet many years ago when he was the chef at a place called Allison on Dominick. Now he has two of his own restaurants on the upper West Side of Manhattan, Ouest and Cesca. The real secret to this recipe is (fasten your seat belt) one whole bottle of red wine. I have always known that wine is a conductor of flavor, but nowhere is it more clearly illustrated than in this recipe. I make this every Thanksgiving in lieu of turkey–that’s how popular it is at my house. It freezes beautifully making it the perfect candidate for entertaining.

5 pounds beef short ribs (sometimes called flanken)
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
One 750-ml bottle red wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Horseradish sauce (recipe follows) and celery leaves for garnish

Pat the ribs dry and season them on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a deep, flame-proof roasting pan that will just hold the ribs in one layer over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the ribs, and brown them on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the ribs with tongs to a platter or bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Reduce the heat under the Dutch oven to medium; add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the platter with the ribs. Add the wine to the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer it until it is reduced by three fourths (to about 1 cup). Add the broth and bring it to a boil. Add the ribs and vegetables along with any juices that have accumulated on the platter. Cover the Dutch oven tightly, place it in the center of the oven, and braise for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

Transfer the ribs to a plate with tongs and let stand until they are cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, strain the broth into a bowl. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the Dutch oven. Skim off any fat that floats to the surface.  Bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce it to about 2 cups.

Discard the bones and any excess fat from the ribs. Knead together the flour and butter in a small bowl, add a few spoonfuls of the reduced broth to the mixture, and then whisk the butter mixture back into the broth. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the ribs to the pot and cook gently just until heated through. Divide the ribs onto warmed plates, spoon some of the sauce over top, and serve with the Horseradish Sauce.

Horseradish Sauce
Makes about 1 Cup

About 1/4 cup bottled horseradish
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2teaspoon dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper

Place the horseradish in a small strainer over a cup and press until the horseradish is quite dry. Measure and set aside 2 tablespoons drained horseradish and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar from the horseradish. Strain more if you don’t have enough.

Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, reserved horseradish and its vinegar, the mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Baked Polenta
Serves 4 to 6

1 cup yellow cornmeal or regular (not instant) coarse polenta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly milled black pepper
2 ounces provolone cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 2/3 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine 4 cups of water, the cornmeal, butter, salt, and pepper in a 1 1/2- quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, on the middle shelf of the oven for 40 minutes

Remove the polenta from the oven, give it a stir, and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven; stir in the provolone and salt and pepper to taste; let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano.



One Comment

Carol Volkmar Says:
September 30th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Dear Sara,

Yea!!!! I finally found your Baked Polenta recipe. Thank you for this! Really looking forward to making this meal.

Again thank you for everything you do and for sharing it all so generously.

Carol



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