Saturday, November 7, 2009

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Red Wine Sun Dried Tomato Gravy

This October 2009 issue of Bon Appetit magazine was my inspiration for today's recipe. Look at that cover. My my isn't it beautiful.

I have seriously cut back on eat red meat, or even pork. But something as luscious as this swayed me. I knew I had to try it.
Now, as per usual, I kind of veered off the recipe and adjusted it to what I had, and the direction I wanted my end result to go.
Cast of characters:
5 lbs of short ribs
Coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
3 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots (4 large)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 lb sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
1/4 fresh thyme sprigs
5 large fresh sage sprigs
5 bay leaves
2 cups dry red wine
4 cups homemade chicken stock
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place a few ribs at a time in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then toss with some flour until coated.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy bottom pot on med-high heat.
In batches, cook ribs in oil, until well browned on all sides.
Now don't be afraid to get a really nice crust on the ribs. They will get really tender while they bake later.
Place the browned ribs on a baking sheet while moving on to the next steps.
Now, at this point, I realized I should have been using my cast iron dutch oven, as the whole pot will have to go in the oven, so I switched to it. So if you are making this, just remember to start with an oven safe pot in the beginning. Learn from my mistakes.
Put the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in the pot over med-high heat.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook about 12 minutes until tender. Stirring often.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes. Unintentional Christopher Ranch ad! I really do love their products though.
Then add the thyme,
followed by the sage,
and lastly the bay leaves.
Stir to coat the ingredients.
Put the ribs into the pot. It's likely you will have to lay them on their side, so that they are all in a single layer like so.
Now pour in the wine.
Oh the beautiful wine.
I was going to use some other red wine that I had on hand. But when I saw this in the store, well, I couldn't resist. It was called "Mad Housewife" cabernet.
Now, I wouldn't call myself a mad housewife per say. More of a "reluctant house fiance" thanks largely to the crap economy.
Just look at what the back of the bottle says. That is perfect.
After tasting it, I thought it was the perfect choice. So much so that I had a glass while cooking. Go ahead, you'll want to also. I won't hold it against you...
as long as you invite me over and share!
And now I realize in my haste to pour myself a glass, I didn't get a picture of the front of the bottle. Complete fail on my part.
On with the show.
After adding the wine, let the pot simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes or so.
Then add the stock.
Here I get a little out of hand. I added a generous splash of balsamic. Oh yeah... balsamic is my latest have to have ingredient. But man was it worth it here. It added a whole different layer of flavor to the gravy in the end.
Now cover the pot and bring it to a simmer.
The recipe in the bon appetit issue serves this with swiss chard. I did buy some while at the store, but when I got home I realized that I had some asparagus in the fridge that I really needed to use.
I trim the ends by cutting off the tougher white part, and using a veggie peeler to peel the ends before blanching the stalks. I like the way it looks, but it is definitely not a mandatory step.
By now the contents of the pot should be simmering.
Transfer the pot to the oven, where you will leave it for a minimum of two hours. Try not to peek or mess with it too much. Which truly is a test of will once the scent of the cooking meat and gravy starts to float around your house. I am not kidding you, it was heaven on earth.
When the time is up, you will take the pot out and let it sit for 15 minutes, covered, at room temp.
Which is when I simmer the stalks of asparagus in a skillet of water for 5-10 minutes. Just until done to your preference. Do NOT over cook them. They will be soggy and completely the opposite of what anyone would consider appealing.
Drain the stalks, put on a platter, sprinkle with kosher salt, and set aside. I covered mine to retain some warmth.
Now would you take a look at these? Oh man, go ahead.
Take a closer look. The smell is out of this world.
At this point I had a ravenous man on my hands, driven almost mad after having to smell this cooking for over two hours. So I had to speed things up.
Carefully remove the ribs, without seperating the meat from the bone if possible. Strain the contents of the pot, and put the juices in a pan over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil. Add cornstarch, 1 tbsp at a time, and whisk until it is completely combined. Now how much you add completely depends on how thick or thin you want your gravy. I wanted mine just slightly thick, so I added 2.5 to 3 tbsps.
I served this with a side of mashed poatatoes as well. It would be a sin not to considering how well the gravy turned out.
Wow that gravy was something. In a perfect foodie world, it would be used as currency it was THAT good!
Finished product. In the end both plates were completely cleaned. I could only tell the difference between mine and Brad's, by the finger patterns where he cleaned any excess off of his plate with his fingers before licking them clean.
Beyond delicious, rich, decadent, and ridiculous. This dish was all of those.


Katie said...

Thanks so much for the photo step by step. Those ribs and that gravy looked out of this world!

- Miss Katie

Laura said...

hahaha, love the back of the wine bottle! i'm getting really hungry going thru your blog!