Welcome to 2013! Neen’s Notes is grabbing the bull by the horns and ready for another year of kitchen experiments and fun:
Our long national nightmare has ended and hockey is back! The Penguins had their opener against Philadelphia on Saturday and looked like they had things pretty well put together. I was impressed given that there was only a week of training camp due to the lockout.
It was conference championship week for the NFL, so a sports-filled weekend all around. What better way to enjoy the games than with something meaty and slow-cooked? That’s what was on my mind when I headed to the grocery store to get some things to make over the long weekend. You know it’s going to be a good day when you walk in and the butcher (with whom you have wisely made friends) gives you a big grin and says, “Check these out. These are what you want, trust me.”
Well who am I to argue? And let’s be honest…they were very pretty:
Short ribs have a lot of connective tissue to break down and cry out to be braised slowly in a very flavorful liquid. The key is to strike a balance between earthiness and acidity, and a mix of stock and something alcoholic is a good place to start. Wine braises are delicious, but for “tailgate” food I thought a good dark lager seemed more appropriate.
Beer Braised Short Ribs
- 2 lbs. beef short ribs
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 small carrots, diced
- 2-3 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- 4-5 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
- 12 oz. dark lager
- 2 1/2 cups veal stock
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- Salt and pepper
Remove the short ribs from the refrigerator one hour before cooking and season with the thyme, salt, and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once it is shimmering and fragrant, add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the ribs to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions and garlic to the dutch oven. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the carrots and tomato paste and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan.
Add the ribs back to the dutch oven and tuck the herbs around them. Pour the beer over the meat and then add 1 ½ cups of the veal stock.
Cover the dutch oven and move it to the oven. Cook for 3 hours, adding small amounts of veal stock every hour until the remaining cup is used. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Move the ribs to a plate and remove sprigs of herbs from the dutch oven. Puree the remaining liquid and vegetables into a sauce with an immersion blender and reduce slightly until it coats the back of a spoon.
Pour the sauce back over the whole ribs and serve as-is if you like. The meat is very tender though, so I shredded it and served it on whole wheat pasta with the sauce. The end result was a hearty, warm dish that fit perfectly into a lazy January weekend.
Hope you’re having a great start to 2013!
Ciao for now,