Thursday, March 16, 2017

Red Wine Oven Braised Short Ribs

It may be a little late in the season for slow cooked comfort food, but since winter just doesn't seem to want to disappear, I'm going to do all I can to make it bearable.  Wine and good food usually fit the bill.  Now don't let the long ingredient and cook time deter you from making these ribs.  This type of recipe is truly a labor of love in my eyes.  And really, all good things are worth waiting for, and these short ribs are definitely worth the wait.  They key to great short ribs, is making sure to get them nice and brown before they go into the oven.  All of the caramelization happening in the bottom of the pot adds to the rich, complex flavor of the dish.  Be sure to scrape up all of the brown bits when adding the wine. Once the short ribs go into the oven, you have a good 2 hours to relax by a fire, or shovel some snow, while the flavors do their magic in the oven.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Makes 8 servings

8 ounces bacon, chopped
5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs cut crosswise into 2" pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large sweet onions, chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry red wine (preferably cabernet sauvignon)
4 cups beef stock
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
12 cloves garlic
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving bacon drippings. Toss short ribs with flour and season with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs in bacon drippings on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown. Add brown sugar and tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in wine, scraping up all brown bits from the bottom of the pot, then add short ribs with any
accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer 25 minutes or until wine is reduced by half. Add stock, tomatoes with their juice, garlic, herbs and reserved bacon and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and transfer to oven.

Bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours until short ribs are very tender. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Remove herbs and bay leaf from sauce; spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard. Serve in shallow bowls over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes.