Monday, September 13, 2010
fast is not always good
I am up for fast, delicious meals just as much as the next guy. But sometimes in the frantic pace that has become our life, I think we are missing out on things that are amazing and divinely yummy because we talk ourselves out of it-that will take too long, that ingredient list is 2 paragraphs, etc. Pffft! I am here to say that sometimes we need the food that has been prepared in a fashion that has largely passed out of of favor with the majority of people. Why out of favor? Because many people are too used to thinking: "how can I make dinner in 30 minutes or less?" And let me reiterate, that is, in and of itself, not a bad thing! My point is that I think we forgo other recipes and miss out on their brilliance and flavors that only slow and involved cooking can create. Case in point: short ribs. Now I adore pork-pork belly, bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, pork roast, and the list goes on and on. Somehow though, veal short ribs are one of my favorite things to cook. Some people think this process is too complicated, time consuming, etc.- no, no it is not!! Let me tell you-roasted, then braised short ribs are proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. And the best part is that this recipe is inherently allergy friendly! No gluten. No dairy. Fabulous! Now I used to serve short ribs with mashed potatoes, because this is comfort food and short ribs produce a fantastic sauce. However, mashed potatoes sans cream &butter are just not the same. Michael Symon suggests serving his with polenta-genius! It is my new favorite cookbook, especially as he has a salted zucchini salad that is amazing too-also allergy friendly. Now you will notice the recipe below isn't Michael Symons; that is because there are a gazillion short rib recipes, honestly. Some of the tell you to dredge in spiced flour, then pan sear; others have you thicken the sauce with all kinds of non allergy friendly things. Anyone that has written a cookbook that includes meat probably has one, so the recipe I list below is a melange of several people's brilliance that I have taken and probably not done justice to.
I have linked this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.
This post is also linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays
Braised Short Ribs
6 pounds beef/veal short ribs on the bone(the bone gives flavor! DO NOT USE BONELESS)
4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 leek, outer green leaves removed and roughly chopped.
1 Bay leaf
10-12 sprigs of Italian Parsley
1-2 sprigs of thyme (you could also use rosemary or oregano)
1 bottle of red wine (I prefer Cabernet Sauvingon, but to each his own)
2-4 cups chicken stock, as needed (or veggie-whatever you have that is gfree, etc.)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Now you are going to want to start these the day before you plan on serving them. Honestly, there isn't alot of hands on effort-the oven does most of the work while you are off doing other things.
Preheat your oven to 400 degreesF. Get out your roasting pan, 9x13 pyrex, or whatever you have that you like to roast meat in. In a small bowl, mix a a little bit of pepper and salt- I like freshly ground and about half salt, half pepper, but to each their own. Rub the salt and pepper over the ribs and place them in the pan fairly close together. Scatter the chopped onion and 2 of the chopped carrots over and amongst the short ribs. Roast for an hour to an hour and half- til the ribs are brown and all the drippings are caramelizing.
Meanwhile, while the ribs are roasting, get on with the sauce! Ideally, you want a pot that can go from stove top to oven; however, not everyone has one, so I'll give two methods. So, pour your wine into the pot, over medium/high heat. Add the rest of the carrots, garlic, leek, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn heat down to low and let the wine be gently heated with the aromatics until the ribs are done.
Now we'll do the stove top braising method first: add the ribs into the wine. (you can also dump in the roasted carrots and onion-I do, but my sister doesn't) You may have to pack them in tightly and that is fine. Now the braising liquid should barely cover the ribs; if not, then add some chicken stock to cover. Now take a piece of foil and crumple it slightly and put over the whole mess, then cover with the lid. Leave on medium/low heat for about 3 hours, til the ribs are tender and a knife slides cleanly in and out.
Oven method: Reduce oven heat to 225 degreesF. Add the ribs (also roasted carrots& onion if desired) to the wine, pack in tightly. Again liquid should barely cover ribs; add stock as needed. Put on the lid and place in over for about 3 hours, til the ribs are tender and knife slides cleanly.
Remove ribs to a bowl. Strain the liquid into the bowl over the ribs and refrigerate overnight. (you can also put the ribs and strained liquid back into the pot you braised them& leave in fridge-just depends on how much room is in your fridge)
Now, as the ribs cool they will reabsorb some of the liquid and the flavor that comes with it. This is why you make them a day ahead; the flavor is unbeatable. And I really do think that it is the easiest dinner for people ever, since the oven does most of the work. Your guests will think you have channeled some famous chef and toiled all day in the kitchen; but in reality, you spent maybe 30 minutes and then toddled off to bed. Another perk of this spending the night in the fridge is that all the fat will congeal on top of bowl/pan and you can remove that easily.
Now it is the day you are serving them. Heat your oven up to 325 degreesF. Skim fat off the top of the sauce/ribs. Place the defatted ribs/sauce in the oven to warm gently through, about 30 min. Place ribs on a platter and keep warm, while you simmer the sauce til it is reduced by half, 20-30 minutes. Now you can debone the ribs for serving or let your guests do that. I think they look marvelous with the bone, next to the polenta. Serves 6.