Cozy Braised Beef Short Ribs for a Winter’s Eve

Braised Buffalo Short ribs in Ragu (OP) In the first decade of this century beef short ribs became enormously popular with restaurants and one would find it on menus as often as one found veal scaloppini on 1970s restaurant menus. On a cold winter’s eve, perhaps this weekend, a long-braising casserole of beef short ribs sounds perfect, don’t you think?

However, due to the nature of the short rib there is no way you will be cooking this when you come home from work because it will take too long. That’s why short ribs are perfect for a wintery Saturday. There should not be any mystery behind short ribs, but some cooks seem at a loss. That’s probably because they are unfamiliar with the cut and that different cuts come from different parts of the cow and require different cooking methods. Short ribs are a beef cut from the region known as chuck, the portion of the cow running from the shoulders down a bit to include the shorter portion of the ribs, hence the name. This is a very tough piece of meat with lots of connective tissue. It needs long slow cooking to break this down and create the melt-in-your-mouth result that we all love to replicate. There’s one secret and that’s to cook it a ridiculously long time at a very low temperature. This means it should cook between 5 and 6 hours. The most appropriate way to cook them is by braising or stewing. The braised short ribs in the photo also has a can of crushed tomatoes added to it, which you can do too if you like.

For the short ribs
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Flour for dredging
3 pounds beef short ribs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
3 cups red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel
Bouquet garni, tied in cheesecloth, consisting of sprigs parsley, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a deep flameproof casserole, melt the butter with the olive oil until almost smoking over high heat. Flour the short ribs and tap off any excess. Cook the short ribs until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the red wine, add the bouquet garni, reduce the heat to very low and simmer, partially covered and turning occasionally with tongs, until very tender, about 6 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the short ribs from the casserole and serve, or if you want to serve the next day, de-fat the juice, set the short ribs aside, let the juices remaining in the casserole cool, then refrigerate until the fat solidifies. Remove the fat, re-heat the short ribs and the sauce and serve.
Makes 4 servings

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