Discover more from South Pond Home by Danielle French
Braised Short Ribs of Beef
Comforting fall stew
Usually, I like to plan a menu on Sunday of what we will eat during the week, what ingredients I need and where I get them. That way I’m organized, not running out at the last minute although inevitably, I do run out at the last minute. I most often shop for meat at a local butcher and shop for vegetables at a local farm store. Some days I have time to cook, other days I don’t or don’t feel like it. I’m a big leftover fan and appreciate whatever is put away at night for lunch time the next day. Nothing like coming home from a dog walk to warm up with leftovers as a late breakfast skipping yogourt and granola entirely.
I recently discovered I have slightly elevated cholesterol and need to reduce animal derived fats. I find it impossible to believe since I am such a healthy cook! But if I really examined my diet, I know that I’m a cheese lover and eat a lot of eggs, and while I love vegetables, I enjoy more meat than I should and cook with it more than I need to. Thick cut pork chops with a large fat rind cooked slowly with rosemary, thyme and lots of salt……Changes will need to be made!
Rethinking my menus.
Now I’ve been rethinking my diet and removing some meat, adding more vegetarian meals. This is hard to do because of…..Shawn. Shawn isn’t much of a vegetable guy and while he isn’t a big meat guy (like steak five nights a week for example), he loves ground beef and anything pork. He tells me all the time that he only likes a little bit of meat “for flavour” but I’m not sure this is true. I struggle imagining him with more lentils, squash, eggplant, spinach, kale. Truthfully, he has really come around these later years to tolerating and possibly enjoying more vegetables than when I first met him.
I’m in a trough.
All of these micro changes has put me in a bit of a cooking “trough”. It’s so much easier to cook a chop, add a salad. Broil fish, have a salad and side of vegetables. I have gone back to some standbyes despite an incredible array of options posted on social media and inspiration from my vast cook book collection. The markets are abundant with produce and I’m always inspired by fall cooking. Usually. I love basically all root vegetables and honestly, I would be happy eating squash with salt, roasted bok choy or a bowl of fully loaded vegetable soup. But Shawn, what will he have? Ham sandwiches?
Keeping flavour at the centre of the plate.
We were invited for dinner recently and I seriously thought Shawn’s brash behaviour would get us disinvited in the future. He got up from the table, without being asked, and helped himself to thirds! Good thing they are good friends. They made short ribs of beef. It is clearly high on Shawn’s favourite and if I were to be truthful, on mine as well; so delicious. So flavourful. I asked for the recipe. I usually make a lot of stews in the fall, stews loaded with onions, carrots, and I braise vegetables too; and while I would like to say that many are vegetarian - and many are - the favoured stews in our household are flavoured with meat. Beef seared and then slow cooked with wine or broth.
What I love about this short rib recipe is that firstly it is easy and has very few ingredients and of course, this cut of meat is very flavourful, there is not necessarily a lot of it but there is plenty of sauce to ladle on whatever else you have made or just a good piece of bread to sop it up. The meat truly is on the very edge of the plate. I prepare simple boiled potatoes (although mashed would also be good) any assortment of roasted vegetables and salad.
So cholesterol schmesterol! Here is the recipe. I’ve made a few variations from my neighbour’s version. What I love about braising anything is that it’s all about slow cooking, no rushing. The one thing that you really must adhere to is making it the day before you want to serve in order to allow the flavours to really come together. Tip: don’t let your dog anywhere near the leftovers if there are any, as she may lick everything up…..Harriet!
I made this for just the two of us and used 2 lbs of short ribs (I regretted that decision as more is definitely better!)
Braised short ribs of beef
4 lbs of thick cut short ribs - at least 1 ½ inches thick
Kosher salt, pepper
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 medium/large onions coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 leek, well cleaned, chopped into ½ inch pieces (optional)
6 -8 large cloves garlic finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Optional: Fresh parsley, lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place your middle oven rack to a lower level.
Allow the meat to come to room temperature. Using paper towel, dry the meat thoroughly.
In a heavy dutch oven heat the oil until it is hot but not smoking.
Liberally cover the meat with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Add the meat to the hot oil and turn to medium high heat. Sear the meat on all sides about 3 minutes per side until it is brown. You may need to do this in batches so as not to crowd the meat allowing it to brown well. It can be messy as the oil will splatter a bit. An apron is not a bad idea to wear.
Remove the meat to a platter. Remove excess fat from the pot by pouring into a glass jar leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan.
Add the onions and stir well. Turn the heat to medium and allow the onions, and leek if using, to be covered with the fat and soften, not brown. I let them cook for about 5 minutes stirring to lift up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute.
Add the meat back to the pan with the juice and add the wine. Bring to a very low simmer and then add the broth. Add the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a low simmer.
Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for about 2 ½ - 3 hours until the meat is very tender. Remove the pot from the oven and let cool. I refrigerated the short ribs and then before serving the next day, heated them at 325 in the oven for about 1 hour.
I enjoyed the dish plain but feel free to add chopped parsley, or zest of lemon over each serving.