We had our first really cool, rainy day here in Southern California yesterday. The kind of day that makes you want to curl up on the couch under a blanket watching cheesy movies or bad daytime TV. In my case, days like that make me want to bake and cook all day long. And that's precisely what I did. I made homemade applesauce, 2 lemony zucchini loaves (you can find the recipe for the bread here), and tested out a new recipe for a honey-nutmeg pear bread. The pear bread was lovely and you'll be seeing it posted soon, promise. The afternoon ended with wonderful braised short ribs, something I crave whenever the temperature dips below 60 degrees.
I know, there are a zillion recipes out there for braised short ribs. Believe me, I think I've tried them all. Some have been good and close to what I'm looking for, others...not so much. And I don't think I've ever made the same recipe twice. Until now. This. one. is. IT.
This is the second short ribs recipe that I've used that originally came from Michael Symon, Iron Chef extraordinaire. For some reason I trust the man when it comes to meat. Maybe it's because he's midwestern. Don't midwesterners know a lot about meat? Well, whatever the reason, he seems like a man who knows his short ribs. The first recipe I tried was tasty, but way too heavy on onions. This one is sheer perfection. And I think I know why. It's that darned anchovy again. I talked about it in my recipe for basil caesar dressing and here it is again. It's that thing that is absolutely unidentifiable, that 5th taste- umami, which words can't quite pinpoint. But you would notice it if it were missing. One silly little fish that makes all the difference in the world.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
I apologize that I don't know the exact origin of this recipe. The blog I found it on did not list the book that it came from, only that the source was Michael Symon. I looked all over but could not find a listing for the recipe anywhere else on the web, so I assume that it came from a book by Symon. If I find the original reference I'll let you know.
3 lbs boneless short ribs (These do exist and they are way better than the bone in ribs- less fat and less waste. If you can't find them in the store, ask the fellow behind the meat counter to cut them for you. They really will help you, you just have to ask.)
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and left whole
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 anchovy or 1 tsp anchovy paste
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 1/2 cups dry red wine (I used syrah)
2 cups low-sodium beef stock or broth
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a heavy oven-proof pot (this is a good time to use one of those enameled cast iron pots) over a medium high heat. Add two tablespoons olive oil to the pot and heat. Generously sprinkle the short ribs with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, place half the ribs into the pot and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the browned ribs and set aside on a plate. Repeat the browning procedure with the remaining ribs. Remove the second batch of ribs as well.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot. Toss in the onions, carrots, and garlic cloves to the pot. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for a minute. Then stir in the anchovy and herbs. Pour in the wine and beef stock and tuck the ribs back into the pot, making sure they are covered by the sauce. Cover the pot and place in the oven.
Cook the ribs at 350 degrees for about an hour, then turn down the heat to 300. Cook for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The meat should be tender and easily fall apart with a fork or your fingers.
Remove the stems from the herbs and fish out the garlic cloves. Crush the garlic cloves with a fork and return them to the pot, stirring to incorporate. Serve one or two ribs per person over a bed of parmesean mashed potatoes with a generous ladle of the sauce over top.