Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Braised Short Ribs

My friend Mark Hoff made these short ribs for me during one of my family’s semiannual visits to his home in Providence. My daughter, Abigail, liked them so much she insisted that I learn how to make them. This incredibly rich dish goes especially well with fresh fettuccini, which Abigail likes to make, but a good dried penne will do nicely.

 (serves a crowd)

olive oil
2 oz pancetta, finely diced
5 lb beef short ribs
3 medium onions, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
28-oz can whole or diced tomatoes
12-oz can tomato paste
several sprigs of fresh thyme, to taste
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
beef stock, as necessary (about 4 c)
red wine, as necessary (about 1 bottle)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a Dutch oven filmed with olive oil, render the pancetta over medium-low heat, about 8-10 minutes. After moving the pancetta to the outside of the pan and raising the heat to medium-high, sear the short ribs for 3-4 minutes per side. Do this in as many batches as necessary so that the meat isn’t crowded. Remove the ribs and set them aside.

3. Reduce the flame to medium-low. Add more olive oil, if necessary, and sauté the mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) until wilted but not browned, about 10-12 minutes.

4. Place the meat on top of the mirepoix. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, salt, and pepper. Then add equal parts beef stock and wine until the level of the liquid approaches but doesn’t completely cover the top of the meat.

5. Braise the ribs uncovered in the oven for at least three and up to five hours, adding liquid as necessary to keep up the level.

• When the ribs are tender, the bones and spent thyme sprigs can be removed easily with tongs.

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