Slow and Steady

Let’s just get this out of the way: this dish isn’t particularly pretty.

Nor is it particularly seasonal.

What it is—aside from being delicious—is completely comforting.

Perfect as it’s been a race to the finish these days. In the next two weeks, I’ll need to move office, get ready for vacation, fit in a trade show and, hopefully, a social life.

And read many, many books.

In other words, a braise seems just the thing, particularly since the last few days have been rainy and grey. It’s the kind of dish that demands your time, but in a lazy sort of way. Some initial set up and then, go! (By which I really mean, sit around and check on it every so often, letting the aroma slowly waft over you, until it’s almost distracting)

In Anne Burrell’s original recipe, she says the meat should be tender but not falling apart. And, it’s wonderful this way: succulent and marked by a complex flavor, with just enough acid from the tomatoes and wine to veer it away from completely gut-busting. It’s wonderful this way, but I’m inclined to braise it further, letting the meat fall to pieces next time I make it, and turning that into a simple ragu served atop parpadelle.

Chances are that I won’t be waiting for another blast of cold to be trying this out. If you’re in the camp that braises are fall food, file this one away.

You can thank me later.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell

6 bone-in short ribs (about 5.75 pounds total)
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Olive Oil
1 large Spanish onion, cubed
1 large shallot, cubed
3 ribs celery, cubed
4 carrots, peeled and cubed
4 cloves garlic, smashed
0.5 cups tomato paste
1 cup tomato puree
2.5 cups full bodied red wine
2 cups water, plus more as needed
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves

Season each short rib with salt and pepper.

Coat a large pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, taking care not to over crowd the pan. If necessary, cook in batches.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs brown, puree all of the vegetables until they form a coarse paste. When the short ribs browned well on all sides, remove them from the pot and drain the fat. Coat bottom of the pot with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Brown the vegetables 5 to 7 minutes, until they are dark and are sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Scrape the vegetables and allow it to reform. Repeat the process and add in the tomato paste, browning it for 4 to 5 minutes.. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Add in the tomato puree and stir.

Reduce the mixture by half. Once it has, return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups of water. You want all of the meat to be covered by liquid, so add more if necessary.Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves.

Cover your pot and place it in the preheated oven for 3 hours, checking occasionally and adding more water if needed. Turn the ribs over after they have been cooking for an hour and a half.

During the last twenty minutes, remove the lid from the pot so that the sauce can reduce.

Serve the braised ribs with the braising liquid.

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