Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Cabernet Braised Short Ribs With Mushrooms

One of my favorite meals is a hearty braised short rib recipe.  I change it up occasionally depending on the mood and the ingredients on hand.  This time, we are having Cabernet braised short ribs with mushrooms.

They are remarkably easy to make and almost foolproof.  For years I had to scavenge the butcher shops and supermarkets for these wonderful, succulent pieces of goodness.  Now they are almost always available.


3# Beef Short Ribs (room temperature)
1# Whole Button Mushrooms
1 Medium Yellow Onion Diced
2C. Beef Stock
1.5 C Cabernet Sauvignon 
(Use something you could drink)
1 Tsp  Dried Thyme 
(because I forgot to buy fresh)
1/2 Tsp Chipotle Chile Peppers 
(or 1/4 Tsp Chipotle powder)
2 Whole Bay Leaves
4T.  Tomato Paste
6 Cloves finely smashed garlic

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  I use a LaCreuset porcelain over cast iron dutch oven for this recipe. I have a big one (10Qt) for larger meals, but this is the 5 quart size; just enough for me and the Old Girl for a meal. Heat it until very hot over Medium High heat. Add the olive oil and brown the ribs on all sides. VERY IMPORTANT: Get a nice CRUST on them. Don't be afraid to almost char them This is where flavor develops in the "fond" left stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Once beautifully browned, remove them to a platter and cover to keep warm. Add the onion to the fond and oil and let them brown.  The smell is incredible.  Once well browned, add 1/2 cup of the wine and deglaze the pan.  Talk about smell? Oh man. If your stove exhausts to the outside, prepare to have the neighbors "drop by to say hi!"

Combine the stock, remaining wine, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, Chipotle and bay leaves.  Pour over the ribs you have just put back in the pan on top of the onions.

Bring this to a rolling boil.  It really needs to be HOT before you continue.

Once boiling, top with the washed mushrooms., Cover and place in the preheated 325 degree oven.  No peeking.  Leave it alone for 2 hours before you check it out.

When done, I remove everything to a platter and keep warm while I thicken the sauce a bit.  I use a French method: equal parts of room temperature butter and flour made into a paste and gently whisked into the very hot liquid. Raise the heat to thicken and then either return the ribs and mushrooms to the pot or pour the sauce over - I use a HUGE stainless platter.  A little fresh oregano or chives from the garden chopped over the top. Delicious.

Today, the ribs are being served with smashed potatoes and peas and roasted asparagus ... but that's another story.

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