Here at Fireworks we’re known for the magic that the 700 degree oven creates as your perfect pizza crisps up in about 5 minutes. Well, just because we can cook hot and fast doesn’t mean we can’t cook low and slow, and you can, too! Here’s how we approach one of our favorite slow cooked meats — beef short rib.
Beef short ribs are larger and usually more tender and meatier than their pork counterpart, pork spare ribs. Short ribs are cut from the rib and plate primals and a small corner of the square-cut chuck. They’re available from most supermarkets with a full service meat department, such as the Hannaford’s in both Brattleboro and Keene.
The first thing you want to do is start getting some flavor on those puppies. We marinated these overnight rubbed with garlic, fresh rosemary & sage, salt, pepper, a touch of lemon juice and olive oil. Then, we cut the rib plate into the individual bones, running a sharp boning knife along side each rib.
Once they’re all cut up, they want to be dredged in flour. Here’s a tip: plain flour tastes gross! Always season your flour when dredging meats and vegetables for frying or searing — this one has a frightening amount of salt, some black pepper and some paprika.
Now we’re ready to sear the ribs in order to seal in their juicy goodness for the long, slow braising process. Heat about a 1/4 inch of olive oil over a moderate flame in a heavy-bottomed pan, and (very carefully, with tongs — don’t get burned!!) lay the dredged ribs in, bone side up/fleshy side down, and don’t crowd them (that will help even out the cooking temperature). Sear each of the three non-bone sides over moderate to low heat to a crisp golden brown.
…that means no burnt or black bits of anything, and no scorched oil… if you have those things, your ribs are still fine, but you MUST clean out the pan before moving to the next steps, or all your hard work will bear the taste of burnt flour. Not good.
Then you’ll want to add some more fat. We chose butter and some nice clean bacon fat we had (bacon itself would work fine, too), and some more olive oil to stabilize the fat so it doesn’t burn under the high heat it’s about to be exposed to. Raise the temperature of your pan and add your mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery) to the fat, along with bay leaves, garlic, salt & pepper.
Over moderate to high heat heat, saute the mirepoix until it begins to caramelize, sweating out most of the water in the vegetables. Then, add some tomato paste, lower the heat, and cook the tomato paste on low flame until it deepens in color and all the “tin can” flavor is gone.
Then, add red wine to cover, and raise the temperature until the wine comes to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze and cooking some of the alcohol out of the wine, fortifying its flavor.
Get a lid on that pan, and cook those babies around 350 degrees. They should take no less than 2 hours and no more than 3. Check them after two. The meat should be ready to fall off the bone, but not quite, and they will look sexy and amazing, like this:
Carefully pull the ribs from the liquid, strain the liquid out, and sieve the veg through a strainer into the sauce. Reduce the sauce to an almost gravy-like consistency.
You can serve them however you like, but this week we made a quick and easy batch of creamy polenta, and topped them with a nice little shaved celery salad.
So… there it is, another “fast and easy” recipe from Fireworks — enjoy!!
And if you really don’t feel like going through all the trouble, well, come on down — we’ll have ’em all weekend!