Saturday, October 2, 2010

Braised short ribs

There are a couple of great ways to cook ribs. I love smoking them, but braising comes in a very close second.

This recipe hails from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I must confess, it's the only recipe I've cooked from this huge tome. I keep seeing it referenced in different places, usually to rave reviews, but for some reason I just can't gel with the book. This recipe, however, caught my eye because it calls for Chimay ale from Belgium, so naturally I stuck to it like a magnet.

The recipe is pretty simple, and is very similar to Carbonnades a la Flamande. You'll need 5 or 6 short ribs, a bottle of Belgian beer (or one of the great approximations they produce in Quebec at Unibroue), a couple of onions, a few white (or regular) peppercorns, some chicken or beef stock, and two bay leaves (which I forgot to put in the picture).

The first step is to brown the ribs (in olive oil) on the three meaty sides.

Do this on about medium heat, and be gentle with the turning so that the bones stay attached.

Then put the ribs bone-side down in the pan. Add the onions, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Pour most of a bottle of beer in there (I went for the Trois Pistoles since it's pretty close to Chimay) and add enough stock to fill the pot so that the ribs are about half-way submerged.

Put the lid on, and pop it all in the oven at 300 for about 2 hours. (Go upstairs and do your blog while this is happening.) About 30 minutes before it's done, start working on your poached pears! Oh yeah!

Some friendly advice, put these on now and leave them on until you're at the table. It's really easy to forget how hot that pan is -- especially the enticing handle!

Once your two hours is up, pull the pan out of the oven (mitts attached, of course). Your ribs will be nice and tender at this point, but need some finishing touches.

Tilt the pan to one side and let it rest for about 5 minutes. This makes it easier to skim some of the fat off (normally, I'd leave most of the fat, but these ribs can be a little over the top, so it's a good idea to do a little skimming at this point).

Stop removing the fat once you start taking up too much of the sauce in the process.

Next, get your mustard out (if you've followed this blog at all, you may have guessed which mustard I'll suggest).

Put a nice blob on the top of each of the ribs. Then fire up your broiler and put the pan under there for a couple of minutes to toast-up the mustard. (This just keeps getting awesomer, don't you think?!)

Once things are nice and toasty, pull the pan out again (you still have your oven mitt on, I hope).

Then dish up with some of the onions on the side and those nice poached pears you were making at the same time. If you serve with noodles or potatoes, spoon a bunch of the braising liquid on there too.

Ten seconds later, and it's time to do all those dishes. Hope you like it! I sure did.

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