Snowy winter weather calls for comfort food, and at the top of my list are roasts and slow-braised dishes. If you live in Alaska, where we only half joke that it’s winter 7 months out of the year, then you can never have too many savory comfort recipes in your repertoire!
Jeff Johnson from the HomeGrown Market in Fairbanks mentioned that his special today was beef short ribs. His special prompted me to recall a dish I prepared last fall, a meltingly tender version of braised short ribs. It was yummy during those chilly autumn days — and it will be even better when staving off the biting cold of a wintry Anchorage evening.
In my kitchen right now, beef short ribs are braising in a savory broth with red wine, diced tomatoes, onion, and garlic. The house is filled with the wonderful aroma of this slow-cooking delight that is surely going to warm up this otherwise dreary winter day.
There’s fresh bread from the Fire Island Rustic Bakery standing by for duty. Beside it is a spicy Australian shiraz, the D’Arenberg Stump Jump, that I think will be a fine match for the rich beef. (See the Frozen Grape’s “Wine of the Week” blog post.) Salute!
Braised Short Ribs
4 1/2 to 5 pounds of meaty beef short ribs
2 1/2 Tbs canola oil
Coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup beef stock
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (sorry, but during winter good, fresh tomatoes are difficult to obtain)
2 Tbs fresh basil (or substitute 2 tsp dried)
2 bay leaves
Crusty French bread or baguette for serving
1) Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Pat the beef ribs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide ribs into 2 or 3 batches.
2) Heat 1 1/2 Tbs canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil is hot but not smoking. Working in batches to avoid crowding, brown the ribs on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Remove the ribs to a platter and tent with foil
3) Heat 1 Tbs canola oil in the Dutch oven, then add the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent but not browned. Remove from heat.
4) Gently push the onion to the side and return the ribs to the Dutch oven, in one layer if possible. Add the wine, stock, diced tomatoes, basil, and bay leaf. If the liquid does not completely cover the ribs, reposition the meat or add a bit more wine/stock to cover.
5) Return to heat and bring the braising liquid to a simmer, then place the cooking vessel in the preheated oven.
6) Braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender and pulls away from the bone.
7) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the short ribs to serving bowls. Discard the bay leaves. Skim fat off of the sauce and pour sauce over the ribs. Serve with crusty French bread for dipping.
(Adapted from Bon Appetite, October 2008)