A slight chill in the air, and I’m leafing through my favorite cold weather recipes. Short beef ribs will be in the top 10, and this lovely fall Sunday afternoon is perfect for long, slow braising. Braising is slow cooking in a covered saucepan with a little liquid – a method that takes a little patience, but transforms the tough texture of the short ribs into tender fork meat while creating a velvety sauce.
Marinate or not? I cooked them in both ways – marinating the ribs overnight gives the meat a red wine and spice flavor, and wine helps brown the beef, which gives it an elegant deep mahogany color. It’s worth the extra planning, but not necessary if you’re a spontaneous type and want to quench your cravings for short ribs as soon as possible.
This recipe takes a little more effort than it usually goes for a rib dinner; this is from award-winning chef Suzanne Goin of Lucques Restaurant in Los Angeles and her Sunday Dinners at Lucques cookbook. According to her, “The short rib saga began one cool and rainy weekend when I, inspired by the weather, cooked them for Sunday dinner. The answer was so overwhelming that I added them to our daily menu. When spring came and the city began to warm up, I replaced the short ribs with something lighter. I went to the cafeteria that week to say hello to a friend, and I was attacked by patrons at three different tables, who waved at me to find out (you guessed it) where the short ribs had gone. At first I was stubborn and refused to service them in 90 degree weather. But I changed my mind when I realized how much people love them. The ribs are back on the menu and will probably stay there forever. “
Braised beef short ribs
Served with mashed potatoes, Swiss chard and horseradish cream. This recipe courtesy of Chef Suzanne Goin from the Sunday Dinners at Luc cookbook. He served four to six people.
Ingredients for short ribs:
- 4-5 pounds of meaty ribs on bones (count a couple of lean ribs per person)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves and 4 whole sprigs of thyme
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1/3 cup diced carrots
- 1/3 cup diced celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups port
- 2 1/2 cups strong red wine
- 6 cups beef or veal broth
- 4 sprigs of parsley
- 2 bunches of chard, peeled, no center ribs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mashed potatoes (mashed potatoes) ingredients:
- 1 1/2 lb. russet potatoes
- 1 1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup 8 oz whole milk
- pour unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Kosher Salt
Horseradish cream composition:
- 3/4 cup crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon of cooked horseradish
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Direction of short ribs: Season short ribs with 1 tablespoon thyme and chopped black pepper. Cover the meat well with your hands. Place in a baking dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator an hour before cooking to warm them to room temperature and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. After 30 minutes, season with plenty of salt on all sides.
When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large saucepan over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and wait a minute or two until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the skillet and brown until browned on all three sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to sauté the meat in batches. Do not overfill the meat, do not be lazy and do not rush at this stage; it will take at least 15 minutes. When the ribs are well browned, transfer them to the Dutch oven.
Reduce the heat in a saucepan to medium and add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping any crusts from the pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to caramelize. Add balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Raise heat to high and reduce the amount of liquid by half. Add broth and bring to a boil.
Pour the vegetable stock mixture over the ribs in a Dutch oven so that they almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs into and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Simmer in the oven for about 3 hours.
To test the meat for readiness, remove the lid and foil, watching the steam escaping, and pierce the short edge with a paring knife. When the meat is cooked, it lends itself easily to a knife. Let the ribs sit in the juice for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a baking sheet.
Turn the oven 400 degrees. Place the ribs in the oven for 10-15 minutes to brown.
Pour the stock into a saucepan, pushing down on the vegetables with a scoop to squeeze out all the juices. Remove the fat from the sauce and, if the broth feels runny, reduce it over medium to high heat to thicken slightly. Seasoning taste.
Heat a large saucepan over high heat for 2 minutes. Tear the chard into large pieces and rinse in a colander. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Add half of the chard and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the herbs in the oil to wither. Add some water and the other half of the greens. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the herbs are tender.
Place the chard on a large, warm dish and place the short ribs on top. Spread a lot of stewing juice over the ribs. Serve with hot potato puree and horseradish cream.
Directions of mashed potatoes: Place potatoes, whole and unpeeled, in a large saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and pour cold water into a saucepan. Bring potatoes to a simmer over high heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until tender.
One potato variety can be cooked earlier than another, so check the cookiness and remove one first if necessary. When the potatoes are cooked through, strain them and set aside to cool for 10 minutes or so.
Heat the cream and milk together in a small saucepan or microwave, then turn off the heat.
When the potatoes have cooled, pass them through a food mill or potato holder. Place the sliced potatoes in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat them over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dry out a little.
Add oil slowly, stirring constantly. Season with 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt. When all the butter is combined, slowly stir in the warm cream mixture until smooth. Seasoning taste.
Horseradish cream directions: Mix crème fraîche and horseradish in small bowl. Season with a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Taste of balance and seasoning.
Sadly, Lucques closed on May 6, 2020 after a 21-year run filled with accolades from chefs Suzanne Goin and Caroline Stein. Goin received the Best Chef: West award in 2006, followed by the coveted Outstanding Chef award in 2016. Caroline Stein won the Outstanding Restaurateur award in 2018 and Goin’s cookbook Sunday Dinners at Lucca won the James Beard Award for Best Professional Cookbook. watch in 2006. If Lucques ribs live forever, it is because we will continue to cook and enjoy them at home.
Happy Thanksgiving – I hope your turkey is wet, your pie crust is flaky, and you have some nice bottles of wine to get back to family holidays after COVID.