Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We'll be giving Adam or Fred his rib back now

Especially since it seems to take every damn pot and pan, not to mention colander, in the house to make braised short ribs.

They were tasty, but they were rather labor intensive.

Braised Short Ribs
from Comfort Cooking by Marian Barros

4 servings

4 lbs beef short ribs, each 2 inches square or flanken short ribs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbs olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 leek, white part only, trimmed and coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, smashed

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 large sprig rosemary

1 bay leaf

2 cups canned plum tomatoes, without juice from can

3/4 cup dry red wine

2 cups good quality beef stock

1. Place rack in lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

2. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Arrange bone side down in a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Pour off fat from the pan. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F.

3. In a skillet, heat oil and saute onion over medium-high heat until it takes on color. Add carrot and leek and continue sauteing over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften.

4. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and plum tomatoes, crushed in your hand before adding. Cook another couple of minutes over medium heat.

5. Add wine and cook a couple of minutes more over medium-high heat until reduced just a little. Spread the vegetable mixture over the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the ribs on top of the vegetables, bone side up. Add the hot beef stock, cover the pan with foil, and bring to a boil on top of the stove.

6. Loosen foil and place pan in the oven. Braise for about 1 1/2 hours. Ribs are done when the meat is falling off the bone. Test with a knife.

7. Drain liquid from the roasting pan and reserve. Turn the oven to 450 degrees F. Turn the ribs bone side down and return to the oven for about 10 minutes until they are dark brown.

8. Strain the vegetables, remove bay leaf, and press on the vegetables to extract all their flavor into the liquid. Allow to sit so the fat rises to th top. Skim off the fat and serve the ribs in the strained liquid.

About halfway through this "not so 30-minute meal," and since I had the wine already open, I poured myself a healthy slug, because I was going to need it to get through this mess.

I had consulted several cookbooks in my collection for recipes on how to cook these suckers, and most of them talked about "flanken" ribs, which in my mind sounds a lot like "planken," which makes me think of ribs that pirates eat. But, I digress.

Having no clue as to what "flanken" meant, I turned to the trusty Innernets and discover I do not have the flanken version, which looks like this:

Which were so not the ribs I had impulsively snatched out of the meat case on Sunday.

I thought maybe I had the English or Chuck short ribs, which are the next ones in line...

But, no, I had the plate know, the ones this more fat and are therefore less desirable...damn impulse buys!

Try figuring out which way was "bone side down" versus "bone side up" on these puppies. I could have been making oxtails...which are just round instead of square, know...they used to be the tail!!!

And, that step where you crush the plum tomatoes in your hand before you put them in the pan? Yeah, let's just blame it on the wine, shall we? Because no one in their right mind would grab a handful of the canned tomatoes, hold them over the saute pan and squeeze them, would they? By the end of this meal preparation, I looked like a body stand-in on CSI: Cordon Bleu.

I served these with buttered noodles and Wine-Steeped Greens ala Rachael Ray. (Hey, the wine was already opened! And, you gotta give props to a recipe that when you look it up, has the total ingredients of "alcohol, vegetables." What's not to love?)

Wine Steeped Greens

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 clove garlic, cracked from skin
1 1/4 pounds cleaned kale, 1 large bunch, trimmed and chopped
1 cup dry red wine
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest, eyeball it

1. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, and garlic.

2. Cook garlic a couple of minutes while you chop kale then remove the clove. (I leave the garlic in...just don't burn it.) Crank heat up a notch them add greens to wilt them down, 2 to 3 minutes of turning is involved here. Add wine, salt, and pepper and reduce heat to simmer.

3. Steep the greens in wine 10 minutes, stir in zest then serve.

Notes: If the greens seem too bitter, I throw in a teaspoon or two of sugar. You can also use Swiss chard instead of kale, and I'm betting mustard or collard greens would be fine, too.

But, props to The Man, when he came in a looked at the mess in the strainer from "extracting all the liquid," and said, "Mirepoix, right?"

My work is done.


Lin said...

Love your description of crushing the tomatoes with your hands! I will never, ever make this dish, but I'm happy you walked me through it. However, you didn't tell us how the ribs turned out. Where they yummy or just edible? Or had you had so much wine you didn't care? Usually The Man says something pungent about your efforts (which is why we like him).

Poodlebugz said...

The ribs were pretty tasty, and very tender...again, I am amazed at the power of braising. Of course, I ate a small one when I pulled them out of the oven after the initial roast, because they smelled sooooo good. It tasted great, but was very chewy and tough.

After braising for 1 1/2 hours, they were extremely tender. There's probably some naughty comment about "long and slow" that I could make here...but I won't! Ha ha!