Saturday, March 20, 2010

Braised Short Ribs a la The Pioneer Woman

I've been thinking about using the short ribs that reside in my freezer for a few weeks. I've seen some wonderful recipes in magazines and on other blogs. It was a tough decision which to try first. I narrowed it down to The Pioneer Woman's braised short ribs and an Asian-inspired recipe. This time PW won. But you haven't seen the last of short ribs in my kitchen. I still have another package in the freezer, so I'll get to try the other version soon!

I will say that Ree knows short ribs. Her version was delicious and the braising sauce was out of this world good. I'm serious. I could eat just that stuff with a spoon. Actually, I did. I found myself standing in front of the fridge, late on the night after I baked these and spooning a bite of sauce out of the tupperware. I needed just one more taste of that sauce!

Here's the ingredient line up: kosher salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, flour, broth, olive oil, red wine, bacon, carrots, shallot, and an onion.

Oh yeah, and you need beef short ribs too.

To get started, fry up some bacon or pancetta in a skillet. Personally, I'm partial to bacon. Bacon is smoked and pancetta is not. I prefer the smokiness of bacon and it's less expensive too. Yay for bacon!

Once your bacon is nice n' crispy, remove it from the skillet. Keep the fat and pour in two tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil while you prepare the ribs to meet their destiny.

Give those short ribs a healthy sprinkle of kosher salt and grind on some pepper.

Send them for a roll in the flour.

Now drop them into the heated oil and brown on all sides. PW recommended approximately 45 seconds per side. I concur. Once the ribs are browned, remove them to a baking dish. I ended up using my 13 X 9 inch Pyrex casserole dish. I believe that Ree used a lovely blue Le Creuset Round French Oven dish for this purpose. Stove top to oven. Very nice. I'm just a teensy bit jealous.

With those ribs out of the way, I tossed in the diced carrots, onion, and shallots. Cook for a couple of minutes and then...

Pour in the wine! I used Winking Owl Merlot from ALDI. It's only $3.29/bottle. It's not bad at all for a cheap wine. I've definitely had worse. It worked nicely in this dish. If there's one thing I've learned about cooking with wine, it's this: If you don't like the way it tastes in the glass, you are NOT going to like it cooked into your dinner. You can read more about my experience with "bad" wine HERE. I'm all for cutting costs, so go for the cheap wine... but be sure to taste it first.

Okay, back to what's cooking. So, stir the wine dig that girl (darn that Ally McBeal-esque trait. I always have a song playing in my head). Besides, it's spill the wine. (Did I mention that I also tend to make up my own lyrics?) Man, what is up with me?! It's one tangent after another tonight. I swear that I haven't even touched a drop of wine myself. Focus, Krista. Focus. Anyway, stir the wine and loosen any bits of bacon, veggies, or fried flour from the bottom of the pan. Bring the wine to a boil and cook for two minutes. Then stir in the broth, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and pepper. I also sprinkled in dried rosemary and thyme. You're supposed to use fresh, but my herbs are dead and the grocery was asking a crazy amount for the little plastic packets of fresh herbs.

Pour the braising liquid over the ribs.

Cover and bake. I don't have a cover for this baking dish, so I used aluminum foil. These should bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours, then reduce the heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone.

Let them sit, covered for 20 minutes once you've removed them from the oven. Check em' out!

Uh-oh. I'm about to embark upon another tangent... here's the thing about short ribs: they are really fatty. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That fat creates a tender, flavorful meat that many other cuts could never rival. However, are you actually supposed to eat the fat? I only ask this because in the Pioneer Woman's post she served them on the bone, fat and all. I've seen a number of other food blogs post about short ribs lately, and in the pictures, they all served these delicious, tender ribs whole as well. I certainly couldn't bring myself to eat the fat and to pick around it at the dinner table would be a messy business. I almost wouldn't want to eat these in public. I mean, you should see me gnawing on some baby backs at the rib joint. It ain't pretty.(Just give me a rib bib and a moist towelette and I'm good to go.) I'm certainly not "prissy" when it comes to meat on the bone, but I can't imagine tackling these with an audience. Am I missing something? Probably you just use your fork to separate meat from fat, right? I know I sound so un-cultured right now. Short rib lovers of the world, please, enlighten me.

I resolved to peel away the fat and search for bits of meat between the layers.

For my kiddos (and my sanity) I separated the meat from the bone and fat.

I took a few tastes as I was picking through the ribs and I thought to myself, "this tastes a lot like pot roast." Then I went back a re-read Ree's post about short ribs and noted her thoughts, "If you’ve never had beef short ribs before, you’re missing out on one of life’s great pleasures—and I’m not exaggerating this time. Beef short ribs are like the most flavorful, delectable, tender, soft pot roast you can possibly imagine—but the meat is on a handy stick for your eating convenience." Okay, so I'm not crazy. Well, at least not when it comes to short ribs.

Here is some of the meat I gleaned from the ribs.

The meat itself was perfect, but the sauce, I'm telling you...THE SAUCE...Amazing! I was trying to think of what else I could spoon it over when I ran out of meat. Ree recommends polenta. Excellent thought!

Okay, here's the recipe with my modifications...

Ree's(aka The Pioneer Woman) Braised Short Ribs original recipe found HERE.

•8 whole Beef Short Ribs
•Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste
•¼ cups All-purpose Flour
•6 pieces Bacon, Diced
•2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
•1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
•3 whole Carrots, Diced
•2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
•2 cups Red Wine such as Merlot
•2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
•1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
•1 teaspoon dried Rosemary

Preparation Instructions
Salt and pepper ribs, then dredge in flour. Set aside.

In a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside. Do not discard grease.

Add olive oil to pan with the bacon grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs to baking dish. Turn heat to medium.

Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.

Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt,plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and herbs. Taste and add more salt if needed. Stir in bacon. Pour liquid over the ribs; they should be almost completely submerged.

Cover and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate mixture, then remove solid fat from the top.)

Serve ribs (or rib meat removed from the bone) topped with cooking liquid (the sauce).

To download or print this recipe click here!


Julie said...

That's the thing about most of her recipes. They beckon to you long after you should be done with dinner! These look great, very nice :)

theUngourmet said...

I'm totally with you on the fat thing. No fat for me. Icky! My mom likes it. I just can't do it! The meat does look awesome as does the recipe. Ree does cook up a lot of great grub and so do you!! :)

Heidi said...

Ree is usually right on with her cooking. I don't think I've tried a bad one of hers yet (or yours for that matter)! These look so good :)

Heidi said...

Ree is usually right on with her cooking. I don't think I've tried a bad one of hers yet (or yours for that matter)! These look so good :)

Kim said...

I love that you mentioned the fat on the short ribs. My husband will eat a certain amount of beef fat, whereas I just can't. When I made Tyler's recipe I just cut the fat off with a knife, but wasn't real excited to have it staring at me on the plate. If I make them again I will cut the meat from the bone as you did. And, I agree with you about them tasting just like pot roast. In fact, I'm thinking that I'm just going to stick with pot roast since it is cheaper and has less fat. Ree's pot roast recipe is awesome. I've made it twice. My husband, my mom and I both think it's the best pot roast ever.

I really went off on a tangent, didn't I? The braised short ribs look amazing! I can imagine that the sauce was delicious. Wonder if it is good on mashed potatoes?

Katy ~ said...

I am drooling. These look fabulous!

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