The Daring Cooks’ Challenge for the month was to prepare a braise. Braising is a very simple technique where you cook long and slow in a covered pot with very little liquid (not enough to cover meat and/or vegetables). It’s very similar to stewing except with stewing the liquid completely submerges the meat and/or vegetables. Since the best recipes for this challenge were all meat based I chose a recipe that I knew my Husband would enjoy- Braised Beef Short Ribs.
I went with boneless short ribs because they are that much easier to prepare. You just want to make sure that you get cuts that are pretty similar to size so that they can cook evenly. Although then the preparation and execution of this recipe I really can’t say much about how it turned out. It looked really good and my Husband LOVED it, but I don’t eat beef so I can’t offer you my personal opinion.
As far as braises go this one wasn’t too difficult. It starts by browning the meat on all sides to lock in the moisture. Then lots of sliced onions and whole garlic cloves are sauteed together. Tomato paste is added for an extra kick of savory flavor. Red wine deglazes the pan, then beef broth is added, along with some carrots, thyme and a bay leaf. The Dutch oven is covered and placed in a low heated oven to cook slowly for up to 2 1/2 hours. This “long and slow” process creates especially tender meat when combined with the acidic cooking liquid. By the end of the cooking period you will have an especially flavorful, moist meat that just falls apart on your fork. Braising is truly one of the best ways to prepare meat.
- 3½ lbs boneless beef short ribs, trimmed
- kosher salt and pepper
- 2 Tb vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, sliced thin
- 1 Tb tomato paste
- 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Heat 1 Tb oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat until smoking. Add half of beef and cook, without moving, until well browned, 4-6 minutes. Flip and brown other side for 4-6 minutes longer, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke. Transfer beef to med bowl. Repeat with remaining 1 Tb oil and meat.
- Reduce heat to med, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12-15 minutes (If onions darken too quickly add 1-2 Tb water). Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until it browns on sides and bottom of pan,m about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to med-high, add wine and simmer, scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits, until reduced by half, 8-10 minutes. Add broth, carrots, thyme, and bay leaf. Add beef and any accumulated juices to pot; cover and bring to simmer. Transfer pot to oven and cook, turning meat twice during cooking, until fork slips through easily in and out of meat, 2 to 2½ hours.
- Place water in small bowl and sprinkled gelatin on top, let stand at least 5 minutes. Transfer meat and carrots to serving platter and tent with tin foil. Strain cooking liquid through fine mesh strainer into fat separator or bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Let liquid settle for 5 minutes and strain off fat. Return cooking liquid to pot and cook over med heat until reduced to 1 cup, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over meat and stir.
“The New Best Recipe” By Cooks Illustrated