Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs

Recently, my sister in law and her husband butchered a cow and gave us a large selection of various cuts of poor ol' Bessie.  For those of you who don't live in Oklahoma, or someplace like it, this is actually fairly common.  And I love the idea of eating locally raised food that I know was treated humanely and healthily Anyway, one of the cuts we were gifted with was short ribs, something I have heard a lot about but never actually cooked.  So I busted out the cookbooks, scrolled around on Google and ended up with a recipe that seemed to work best with my tastes and pantry contents.  Here is the original recipe from SimplyRecipes.com

Now, I don't know about you but I do not have veal stock in the pantry!  However, I have heard that a combination of chicken and beef stock create a similar flavor so that was my plan.  What I ended up doing (because I forgot) was just using beef stock.  I mean, I'm cooking beef right?  So, here is my adaptation of the recipe, 'cuz it's impossible for me to actually follow the recipe line by line!

4 Large or 6 medium beef short ribs
2-3 T flour
Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pre-heat a large dutch oven or stockpot on medium heat with extra virgin olive oil.  Pat ribs dry and season with salt, pepper,and paprika.  Dredge in flour and shake off the excess.  Brown in olive oil until a nice crust has developed all over the ribs.  Remove ribs and get started on the veggies.

1 Large onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Large carrots, washed and large chopped
4-6oz white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1/2 bottle of red wine, preferably zinfandel (or maybe that's just my personal favorite)
1 box or three cans beef broth
Salt, pepper, herbs de Provence (or fresh thyme and rosemary)


In the same pot that you browned the meat, add veggies (except garlic) and cook for about 8 minutes or until veggies have a nice color on them.  Remove veggies and de-glaze with the wine.  Hmmm...whatsya gonna do with the rest of the bottle???  Stir the pan with a wooden spoon, scraping up the crusty bits from the bottom and add the garlic. Let the wine cook down for 8-10 minutes or until reduced by half.  Add the meat back to the pan and add the stock until liquid almost covers meat.  Cover pot with a lid and put into a 375 degree oven for 2 hours.  Add veggies to the pot and cook for another 1/3 hour or until meat is very tender and shreds easily with a fork.  Let ribs cool on the stove top, then refrigerate overnight.  This was truly my favorite part of this recipe.
A) you can do it in the evening before a busy day and have a great meal ready to go tomorrow and
B) These ribs are fatty, fatty, fatty.

Yes, I know, fat is flavor but I tend to be a bit grossed out by large volumes of fat.  Not to mention I don't have the time to run the 39 miles it would take to burn all of that off!  When you refrigerate overnight, a lot of the fat hardens on top and you can remove it, but you still have the flavor/tenderness of cooking the meat with all of its fatty bits.

So, the next day, remove the pot from the fridge and remove as much of the hardened fat from the top as possible.  Then re-heat the meat over the stove top for about an hour, cooking uncovered until sauce reaches your desired consistency, like a thick gravy/glaze.  Serve with rosemary and Gorgonzola mashed potatoes (recipe follows) and steamed fresh peas.  This was a great Sunday supper!  There are a lot of steps and planning ahead but it was not at all a difficult meal and it sort of had that "wow" factor.  Definitely going in the regular rotation!

Potatoes:

6-8 medium red-skinned, yellow fleshed potatoes (you can us any potato, I just think they have a better flavor)
4 T low-fat sour cream
2 T butter or margarine
1/2 C crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
Sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


Wash potatoes and chop into 1 inch chunks.  Place in pot of cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil 15-20 minutes or until potato pierces easily with a fork.  Drain water and add potatoes back into the hot pot.  Toss in the remainder ingredients and smash into a chunky consistency with a potato masher or large wooden spoon.  Serve in a large bowl with extra Gorgonzola sprinkled on top.  Mmmm...I could eat just these for dinner!

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