Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Short Ribs are Easy - Who Knew

Last week was a doozy . . . my company had its annual customer conference . . . it was fun, exhausting and a great opportunity for tasty meals! One of those was a fantastic order Asian Short Ribs that I had at Roy's in Austin. They were so good that they motivated me to investigate how I could use my new Le Crueset Dutch Oven to replicate them at home.

Turns out, it isn't all that hard!
I did a little research and found a few recipes for more classical short ribs, which is what I decided to try. The butcher at my local Randall's was kind enough to cut me 3 1/2 pounds of short ribs to order and I was cooking! Because it was such a sumptuous meal, we invited another couple over to enjoy the following:

Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine and Mushrooms
  • 3 1/2 Lbs Boneless Short Ribs (mine came already sliced, not in one big slab - nice for portioning)
  • 1/2 Bottle Dry Red Wine (I always save whatever we didn't finish in time and has gone a little off, the flavors are usually still fine for cooking for several weeks)
  • 4-5 C Beef Broth
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion with a large dice
  • 2-3 Shallots with a large dice
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped in large chunks
  • 1 Cup Button Mushrooms or Baby Portabellas, cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tsp Dry Sage
  • 2 Tsp Dry Thyme
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I prefer sea salt)
  • 3-4 Tsp Cornstarch to thicken the sauce before serving
I have to admit, I am usually a speed cook, so the prospect of slow cooking less tender cuts of meat was a little intimidating. But I am so glad I tried! The beauty of this recipe was short prep and then a fantastic meal hours later. I don't have a slow cooker, so I wouldn't do this if I couldn't stay in or near the house for 4 hours or so, but if you have one, then that is a great option. Preheat the oven to 300. Heat 2/3 of the oil on the stove at medium to high heat in your dutch oven or oven safe pot.

Season the meat with salt and pepper, then sear the meat briefly on all sides, which should take about 4-5 minutes. Move the meat to the side and then add onions, shallots and carrots. Let these caramelize for a few minutes before adding the red wine, broth and herbs.
Cover the dish tightly and place it in the middle of the oven and cook for 31/2 to 4 hours.

Remove the dutch oven from the oven and return to the stove on med-low heat to continue simmering. Remove the meat from the pot and place it in a dish, cover with foil. Meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a small pan and sauté the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the stew that is in the pot. Thicken to desired thickness with cornstarch. Do so by taking a small amount of liquid out of the pot and whisking with the cornstarch before returning it to the pot, this ensures that there are no lumps.
Return the meat to the pot to ensure it is heated through. Then serve with your desired sides, I provided boiled potatoes and steamed asparagus.

Tonight, for leftovers, I'll be serving it with broccoli instead. This meal was so filling, tender, relatively healthy and inexpensive. For anyone who has been intimidated by large or tough cuts of meat, try it, you'll be surprised at how great and easy this is!


shtao said...

This was great timing now that fall is approaching. I've been looking for a short rib recipe ever since having delicious ones at ... Olive Garden of all places. Check 'em out if you ever get tired of Wink.


Becca said...

Hey there question—what would suggest as an alternate for mushrooms for those of us who don't like the little fungi?

Kir said...

Sammy - glad it is a propos:))) Wow - Olive Garden . . . if you say it was good, then I trust you with that expert palate. Happy Cooking!

Kir said...

Hey Becca,
Sorry you don't love mushrooms . . . but some ideas for alternatives could be:
1) nothing, the mushrooms just add a little something, but arent necessary for the flavor of the meal
2) If you want a meaty texture from a vegetable, eggplant might be an alternative to try. Again, adding it at the end would be good and allow you to keep the texture.
3) For a totally different style or flavor, you could try some red or yellow bell peppers (not green since they are a little bitter). But I might add those earlier to let them break down.
Happy cooking!!!

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