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Short Rib Season

January 14, 2011

I love short ribs. If you don’t, it’s either because you don’t eat animals, or because you haven’t gotten around to trying them yet.

(Animals? Short ribs? That “them” up there seems to refer to the trying of animals. I guess those reasons are sort of the same, aren’t they?)

There’s a new grocery store not far from us. I’m not thrilled with the butcher section but I did find some short ribs that looked pretty good the other day, so I picked up two packages.

Like oxtails, short ribs are a cut of beef—no, oxtails are not ox—that is normally very inexpensive. The bang for the buck is great, but the trade-off is that it requires a specific method of cooking. See, these cuts have a lot of connective tissue, and therefore needs to be cooked for quite some time to soften them up. However, if you braise short ribs — by definition, brown them in fat and then cook in a covered container in liquid — you can melt the connective tissues. And while it takes a wee bit of planning up front, there is apparently little more delicious as well as silky in the mouth than melted connective tissues!

(If you are a vegetarian, I apologize for this whole post, which is shaping up to be in poor taste. If you want something that tastes good, try collagen! Doh!)

I’ve made a few different recipes — one braised in a huge quantity of red wine and another with pancetta and tomatoes and ground savories and lots of herbs.

They both require seasoning before searing. That seems reasonable enough to me, and it is part of the definition of braise. But they other day I decided to try a Korean route to the short ribs. I looked through a favorite cookbook, and everything that was required for the recipe was something I already had, aside for green onions. It was snowy so I decided that I’d just use regular chopped up onion and see if the resulting product suffered from my cheating.

Another draw to the recipe is that instead of searing beforehand, you simply put everything, all at once, into a Dutch Oven. After a few hours on the top of the stove, pat dry, brush with sesame oil, and finish in a hot oven for ten or fifteen minutes. (It’s like the sear part happens afterwards, which in a way, makes more sense.)

These are easy. They are fantastic. The recipe is from the Complete Meat Cookbook, which is one of my all time favorites.

I served with brown rice and an okra and corn combo. I ate some leftovers on polenta, but rice is really what you want with this.

Korean Style Oven Browned Short Ribs

from The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

Ingredients

10 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 light or dark brown sugar
3 T chopped fresh ginger
6 whole green onions or scallions (I just chopped up a medium onion)
2 T rice vinegar or cider vinegar
2 C water
3 pound English-style short ribs, boneless or bone-in, trimmed of external fat
2-3 T Asian sesame oil (toasted)

Procedure

Put ingredients except sesame oil into a Dutch oven, making sure ribs are covered by the liquid. (I needed to add more water.) If not, add more water and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a summer, and skim foam. Continue to cook uncovered until the ribs are quite tender, 1.5–2 hrs.

(Before I did this, my ribs sat overnight and I could take the fat off of the top.)

Preheat the oven to 450. Remove the ribs from braising liquid. Pat them dry and lay them bone side down (all but one of the bones had fallen out of my ribs) on a rack above a roasting pan or use the boiling pan provided with your stove. Brush the meat with the sesame oil. Roast the ribs in the middle of the oven until their edges are crispy, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, skim any fat from the surface of the braising liquid. Discard bones. The sauce should have a rich, beefy flavor. If not, boil over high heat to concentrate the flavors. The sauce shouldn’t get too thick but remain soupy. Ladle the sauce into shallow bowls and put a rib or two in each. Serve with rice and vegetables.

The Complete Meat Cookbook is one of the best cookbooks I own; buy it.

PS Here is  the post where I reference Giada’s short rib recipe — to be eaten on fresh pasta with shavings of chocolate. Or, go straight to the with chocolate recipe.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Heather permalink
    February 14, 2011 8:09 pm

    I make this! I got it from a Grass-Fed Meat cookbook. Not sure how it might transfer to a crockpot. I’m mad at my crockpot tonight anyway. The beef stew had crunchy potatoes in it. I was so mad.

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