Thursday, February 9, 2012

Short Rib Weather

It's finally cold enough to make cold weather comfort food! I mean, what is the point of winter if you can't make soups, stews and braised meats? Or go skiing? (What do people in Florida do all winter?) My fave slow-cooked, braised meat is a pile of short ribs. Fatty and delicious, you can't go wrong with short ribs...especially if they are cooked in red wine. Perfection.

You'll see that I included a few pics of the short ribs as they cooked along, since, for some reason, Whole Foods gave me short ribs that were like, 8 inches long! Usually they are only about 4 or 5. Whatevs. It wasn't a problem cooking them, just fitting them in the pot so that they were nicely nestled into their red wine bath.

I enjoyed a delicious meal with a fab red wine (a much more pricey bottle than the $10 bottle that I cooked with) and then froze the leftover meat and sauce (separately) so that I can eventually make a beefy pasta sauce not unlike this one. But it will all depend on the weather.

Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs
Adapted from Bon Appétit

4 pounds meaty beef short ribs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (about) vegetable oil
1 (750-ml) bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon all purpose flour

1. Arrange the ribs in single layer in 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Mix the rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle all over the ribs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let the ribs stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.

2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy, wide ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the ribs to the pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch, adding more oil to the pot by tablespoonfuls as needed. Transfer the ribs to a large bowl or platter.

3. Pour off the extra fat drippings from the pot and discard. Add the wine and broth to the pot and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the ribs and any accumulated juices to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven and braise (cook) until the meat is very tender and almost falling off bones, about 2 hours. (DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to a simmer before continuing.)

With bones - before sauce reduction

3. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a large bowl and cover tightly to keep warm. Skim any fat from the top of the braising liquid. Boil the liquid until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes.

4. Mix 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour with a fork in small bowl until well blended. Whisk the butter mixture into the reduced braising liquid. Whisk over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper. Return the ribs to the pot and coat with the sauce.

After sauce reduction

5. Spoon the Gorgonzola Polenta (see recipe below) onto plates. Top with the ribs and extra sauce.

Gorgonzola Polenta
Adapted from Bon Appétit

5 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)*
3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup whipping cream
*Sold at some supermarkets and at natural foods stores and Italian markets. If unavailable, substitute an equal amount of regular yellow cornmeal and cook about half as long.

1. Bring 5 cups of chicken broth to a boil in heavy 4-quart saucepan. Gradually add the polenta, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the polenta is tender, stirring frequently and adding more chicken broth by 1/4 cupfuls if polenta is too thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the Gorgonzola and cream. Stir until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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