Braised Short Ribs

For Passover, many people make brisket or a similar hearty meat dish.  I like to make Short Ribs, because I like it better than brisket.  I’ve used various adaptations of a basic recipe by Ina Garten.  In this version, I pan seared the beef (because it was boneless) rather than Ina’s oven searing (of bone-in ribs) at high temp, but I’ve done her method before, and it works too.  Key tips:  I use a lot of garlic in this, but carefully.  I mince half of it, but only add the minced garlic for the last minute of cooking the veggies, so it doesn’t burn and get bitter.  The other 4 cloves go into the broth whole.  Make some of the carrots smaller dice, and some large, and the larger pieces can be served on the platter with the beef.  This dish serves 6.  Make more if you want leftovers!

5  lbs boneless beef short ribs, trimmed of fat

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 small or one large onions), chopped (I use sweet onion, like Maui, Vidalia, or Bermuda)

4 cups large-diced celery (6 large stalks)

6 carrots, peeled – some small, some large-diced (see tips above)

8 garlic cloves, 4 minced and 4 whole

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 (750-ml) bottle Cotes du Rhone (what I used) or other dry red wine

Fresh rosemary sprigs

Fresh thyme sprigs

1 tsp dried fennel

1 tsp dried sage

2 tablespoon brown sugar

4 cups beef stock (or more if needed to just cover ribs)

 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Also heat a 10 qt Dutch oven on the stove (Le Creuset or similar).  Season short ribs with salt and pepper, and using a very small amount of oil, sear in small batches (do not crowd the pan) on high heat,  to just get a crust on each side (about 1 minute per side – if really thick, sear on edges too).  Minimize handling of meat and use tongs (don’t puncture the meat with a fork). Set seared ribs in large heat proof bowl while completing the rest.

Heat 2-3 tbsp additional olive oil in Dutch oven and add the onion, celery and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the MINCED garlic (leave it on top of veggies) and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and wine, bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the rosemary and thyme together with kitchen twine and add to the pot.  Add dried fennel and sage.

Place the seared ribs on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and add the brown sugar and beef stock. Just barely cover the ribs.  Add more stock or a cup or so of water if needed. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the Dutch oven and bake for 3-4 hours or until the meat is very tender.

You can serve at this point (which I did), spooning sauce and veggies over meat, plus straining some of the sauce and serving in a large gravy boat.

Optional:  If you want to make a thick sauce Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. Discard the herbs and skim the excess fat. Cook the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for 20 minutes, until reduced and thickened. Put the ribs back into the pot and heat through. Serve with the vegetables and sauce.

I served this with roasted asparagus, potato kugel and matzo farfel (it was Passover!).

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