Friday, April 12, 2013

Braised Flanken-Style Short Ribs

I've been watching Top Chef for years, but it's only during this past season that Tom Colicchio finally grew on me. I never doubted that he was a good chef, but I never really "liked" him until recently. So, when I was searching for a good short ribs recipe and came across this one he did for Food and Wine, I was excited to give it a try.

Spoiler alert: It's a great recipe! I had a feeling it would work out well just by reading it. There aren't a lot of ingredients and the steps are simple. You do have to start the dish the day before, but only so the meat and braising vegetables can soak overnight in a red wine bath.

I did skip the step of basting the cooked ribs in their liquid and broiling them in order to create a glaze. I was dubious and didn't want to toughen the meat. I also thought the delicious braising liquid was too thin to coat the ribs or caramelize well. I don't think anything was lost due to my choice not to broil. It just seemed too fussy. The recipe below reflects this change, and I'd definitely make it again the exact same way!

Tom Colicchio's Braised Short Ribs
Adapted from Food and Wine magazine
This recipe calls for flanken-style short ribs, which are cut across the bone. I think you could also use English-style, which are cut parallel to the bone, but the cooking time may vary slightly. Either way, either cut should come from the chuck where the ribs are meatier, rather than the plate of the animal. A fat separator is really nice for de-fatting the braising liquid. I have this one, and I use it all the time.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 lbs flanken-style short ribs, about 1" thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 bottle dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
4 thyme sprigs
3 cups chicken broth
Chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Heat half the oil in a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Add half the ribs to the skillet and cook, turning once, until browned and crusty, 8 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining oil and ribs. Transfer to a shallow baking dish in a single layer.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the hot marinade over the ribs and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning the ribs once.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer the ribs and marinade to a large, enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and cook in the lower third of the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Uncover and braise for 45 minutes longer, turning the ribs once or twice, until the sauce is reduced by about half and the meat is very tender.
  4. Transfer the meat to a clean shallow baking dish, discarding the bones as they fall off. Strain the sauce into a fat separator, discarding vegetables (or strain sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off as much fat as possible). Pour de-fatted sauce over the meat; there should be about 2 cups. Serve with sauce, over polenta or mashed potatoes if desired. Garnish with parsley.

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