Braised Short Ribs
This is a comforting and perfect fall and winter dish from Sunday Suppers at Lucques It tastes even better if made the day before serving.
6 beef short ribs, 14-16 oz. each (ask for 3 bone centre-cut)
1 T. and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 T. fresh ground black pepper
3 dozen small pearl onions (can be purchased peeled and frozen)
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. diced onion
1/3 c. diced carrot
1/3 c. diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 c. port
2 1/2 c. red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock (buy blocks of frozen concentrated stock from good butcher)
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bunches Swiss chard, cleaned, centre ribs removed
potato purée (see recipe under Menus: Summer: A Late Summer Dinner Party for 8)
horseradish cream (see recipe under Menus: Summer: A Late Summer Dinner Party for 8)
Season ribs with 1 T. thyme and the ground pepper. Use your hands to coat meat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 325ºF and season the ribs generously with salt. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat, add 3 T. olive oil, then sear the ribs in batches until well browned on all sides. Transfer them to a braising pan. They should lie flat, bones standing up, in one layer.
Turn the heat to medium and add the onion,carrot, celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port and red wine. Turn the heat up to high and reduce liquid by half.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Pour liquid over short ribs, scraping any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one and braise in the oven for about 3 hours. Check meat for doneness by piercing a short rib with a paring knife. If the meat yields easily to the knife, it is done. Transfer ribs to a baking sheet.
Turn oven up to 400ºF. Place ribs in oven for 10-15 minutes to brown. Strain the broth into a saucepan, skim the fat, and reduce over medium-high heat to reduce slightly and heighten flavour. Taste for seasoning.
If making this dish the day before serving, remember to season the ribs 2 days before. After the ribs have baked and are tender, cool and then refrigerate overnight. Before serving, proceed with browning the ribs and reducing and seasoning the stock.