Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Braised beef short ribs on horseradish potato purée

This is what I made for the main dish when my mom was visiting in town. It went really well with the spring veggie ragout and I was really impressed with the flavorful-ness of beef short ribs. They're cut along cross-ways, rather than by separating out the long way by each rib section, like you often see with pork ribs. Beef short ribs are cheap and delicious--they require a bit of cooking time but are really easy. Serve these rich cuts of meat over something piquant, such as the horseradish potatoes here, to counterbalance.

I got about 2 1/2 pounds of beef short ribs. Browned them in olive oil over medium-high heat on all sides in my large cast iron dutch oven. You may need to do this in batches--I know I certainly did. They will take about 8 minutes per side. When they've all been browned, remove and set aside. Back in the same pot, sauté 3/4 cup each chopped onion and carrot until soft and lightly browned (about 8 minutes), then add 3 cloves minced garlic and continue to sauté for another minute. Add a 16-ounce can of chopped tomatoes (or tomato puree, whichever you have handy) and bring it all to a boil. Add in 1 ½ cups of a good red wine and boil for 8 minutes (I keep recommending 8 minutes as the optimal time to do things for this recipe, don't know why that is). Now add in 4 cups of stock (I had a good homemade chicken stock in the fridge so I used that, you can use beef or veal stock if you manage it and this will be even more delicious) and bring it to a simmer with a pinch of dried thyme and 2 bay leaves tossed in there too. When it is at a simmer, add back in your beef ribs along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate you removed them to. Cover the pot and stick it in an 250 degree oven to braise for 3 hours. When it emerges you will be so happy.

These beef ribs create an amazing sauce that need a good bed to be served on. I made horseradish potatoes and it was really easy. It's not like you won't have the time, what with the short ribs braising for 3 freaking hours. Peel and cut into chunks about 1 ½ pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes. Boil the chunks in salted water for 20 minutes, or until whenever they are soft. Drain them lightly, return to the pot and mash really well with ½ cup cream, 4 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper and 4 tablespoons prepared horseradish. You can purée this through a food mill for a really creamy texture. To serve, mound some of the potatoes on a dish and swirl it around with a spoon to flatten. Over the potatoes, rest 2 or 3 short ribs and ladle some of the delicious sauce over the top.

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