"This is our Saturday-night plat du jour and, because its preparation involves the basics of French cooking, it’s also the first dish we teach young cooks: There’s the browning of the meat, the softening of the mirepoix, the reduction of wine, and the long braise in stock. It’s a forgiving dish that calls for patience rather than precision. It’s also the ideal meal to make ahead of time, as it benefits greatly from a night’s rest. Serve with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Pan-Roasted Root Vegetables." From The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson. As with all tough cuts of meat, short ribs are best when braised. A long and gentle simmer breaks down the abundant fat and connective tissue, rendering the ribs tender and velvety in texture. Veal stock adds its own inherent silky richness. Ask the butcher to cut the ribs across the rack, as opposed to along the bone, so there are 3 short bones in every piece.
- 6 short rib of beef (5 to 7 pounds)
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 stalk celery, halved
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh coarse ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 4 shallots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 cup ruby port
- 4 cups full-bodied wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
- 6 cups veal stock (veal stock is really best but you can substitute good homemade beef stock)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F
- Bind each rib with cotton kitchen twine. Place the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf between the two celery halves and bind with kitchen twine.
- Season the short ribs with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over a high flame until it smokes.
- In two batches, brown the short ribs well on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, pouring off all but 3 tablespoons of oil between batches.
- Remove the ribs and set aside when done.
- Lower the flame to medium, and add the carrots, onion, shallots, and garlic to the pot and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and light brown.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir well to combine. Add the port, red wine, and the celery-herb bundle.
- Raise the flame to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by a third, about 20 minutes.
- Return the ribs to the pot (they will stack into two layers).
- Add the stock and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt; if the stock doesn’t cover the ribs by at least 1 inch, add water up to that level.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, cover, transfer to the preheated oven, and cook for 3 hours. Visit the pot occasionally and stir the ribs, bringing the ones on the bottom up to the top -- they’re done when the meat is fork tender and falling off the bone.
- Transfer the ribs to a large platter and remove the strings.
- Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce, and then strain through a sieve into a medium saucepan.
- Discard the solids.
- Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a strong simmer and reduce the liquid until slightly less then half (4 cups) remains, about 1 hour.
- Return the ribs to the pot, simmer for 10 minutes to reheat, and serve.