Yeah, I know. That's a little bold, isn't it? But honestly this dish will have you groaning with gustatory pleasure. I guarantee it. There's a lot of very good short rib recipes out there but this one is special. What's so different about it? The power of reduction.
A typical recipe for short ribs would call for braising the beef in wine, broth and vegetables for a long period of time. And this recipe does just that, but there's an important difference - you start out with a reduction of a whole bottle of red wine and vegetables and then you add that to your beef braise along with more vegetables and beef stock and when that is finished, you remove the meat and reduce the sauce even more. You are left with liquid gold that is so delicious as a sauce you won't believe it.
Thomas Keller is the guy behind this recipe and he uses two interesting techniques here. One is that he fashions a little tool for this dish - a parchment paper lid. Instead of placing a lid on the pot for the long braise, he cuts out a "lid" of parchment paper with a hole in the middle. This allows some evaporation of liquid without allowing too much. It's really a brilliant little idea. I show you how to make one below. The other interesting thing that he does is to place a piece of cheesecloth between the meat and the vegetables, so that the flavor can pass through but the bits of vegetables don't end up clinging to the meat.
Keller calls for "boneless short ribs" for this dish. If you can't find those or can't find a butcher to prepare them for you, you can also just prepare a regular chuck roast using this method. Just slice it into smaller sections. It will be equally over-the-top delicious.
Braised Beef Short Ribs
from Ad Hoc
for a printable recipe click here
The same vegetables are repeated in the Braise as for the Red Wine Reduction. You will need about 3-4 leeks total for this recipe and 1 large onion.
You will need a piece of parchment paper and a piece of cheesecloth for this recipe.
I like to cook these a day ahead of time. The flavor is even better. Serve with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.
for the Red Wine Reduction:
- 1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup 1/2 inch thick slices peeled carrots
- 1 cup 1/2 inch thick slices leeks, white & light green parts only (about 1½ large leeks)
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
- 3 thyme springs
- 6 flat leaf parsley sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 large garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on
for the Braise:
- 1 piece (about 2-1/2 pounds) boneless chuck short rib (if you can't find this cut, just use a chuck roast and slice it into pieces)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- all-purpose flour
- canola oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 2/3 cup 1/2 inch thick slices peeled carrots
- 1-1/2 cups 1/2 inch thick slices leeks (white & light green parts only)
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- About 5 cups Beef Stock
Combine all the ingredients for the red wine reduction in a large Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot that will hold the meat comfortably. Bring to a simmer over high heat and reduce the heat to maintain the simmer for 45 - 50 minutes, until the wine has reduced to a glaze.
Meanwhile, trim any pieces of sinew from the top of the short ribs; leave the layer of fat and silverskin. Remove any remaining connective tissue from where the bones were removed. Season all sides of the meat generously with salt and pepper and coat in flour, patting off any excess.
Heat some canola oil in a large saute pan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the meat fat side down, reduce the heat and brown the meat for 3 minutes. Turn the meat and brown the other side. Transfer the meat to a tray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the onion, carrots, leeks, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves to the wine reduction and toss together. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 4 inches larger than the diameter of the pot. Moisten the cheesecloth and wring dry, place over the vegetables and fold over the edges to form a "nest" for the meat. (The cheesecloth will allow the liquid to flavor and cook the meat but prevent bits of vegetable and herbs from clinging to it). Put the meat on the cheesecloth and add the stock; it should come just to the top of the meat. Cut a parchment lid (see my photos in the post) and place it over the meat.
lay the cheesecloth on the vegetables, add the meat and broth
and then top with the parchment paper lid
Transfer the pot to the oven, reduce the heat to 325 F and braise the beef for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until very tender.
Transfer the meat to a heatproof container. Strain the braising liquid twice through a fine mesh conical strainer into a bowl, then strain into a fat separator or deep bowl and allow the fat to rise to the top. Skim off the fat and strain the liquid over the meat. (The meat can be refrigerated in the liquid for up to 3 days, then finished as follows.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove any solidified fat from the surface of the liquid. Put the meat in an ovenproof saute pan and pour in about 1/4 inch of the braising liquid. Pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Meanwhile, put the pan of short ribs over medium heat and bring to a simmer, spooning the juices over the meat. Transfer the uncovered pan to the oven to heat through, about 15 minutes, basting with the juices once or twice. Turn the meat over and baste generously with the juices, Return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, basting two more times, until the meat is hot and richly browned with the sauce.
Cut the short ribs against the grain into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Spoon the sauce over and serve.
To make a Parchment Paper Lid: