Braised again??? Who do we think we are, Just Braise?
We swore last week that we'd eschew the braise for the roast - but alas the recipe for Braised Oxtail and Baked Eggs had us salivating... When it came down to it, however, we needed a dinner, not a brunch, and we decided to finally do what we've been pining to do for a long, long time - Braised Short Ribs. (We'll do the Oxtail recipe sometime soon.)
How easy is this braised short ribs recipe? On a scale of 1-10, this is a 4 on the easy scale. The hard part is starting early enough to let that tough meat cook to sweet, tender, buttery, fall-off-bone goodness. Give yourself a total of 3-4 hours from start to finish... The Faux Mashed Potatoes (Mashed Cauliflower) will only take up the last 1/2 hour of that time.
MEATS - 3lb Short Ribs - our butcher buddy at S&S cut these up right off a big hunk of meat in the back with that wonderful band saw. About $3.50/lb, could be cheaper - but still not bad.
We crusted this with a steak seasoning mixture - sea salt, garlic, onion, fennel, and black and red pepper - and pushed the seasoning well into the meat. Heated our dutch oven over medium high and added Can-Oil (that's canola) and seared the individual short ribs on four sides in two batches.
After searing all four sides for a couple minutes each, we removed them short ribs and set aside... then added celery, carrot, and onion to the pan and let those veggies brown. After a few minutes, added minced garlic, 1 cup vinegar*, 1/2 cup red wine (cabernet), 14oz can of diced tomatoes, several liberal dashes of Worchester, black pepper, and a big ol' bay leaf... stirred that all together as it starts to warm (scraping up the browned bits with that wooden spoon from the bottom of the pan that are left from the seared short ribs) and then finally we added the meat back in, settling them on the bottom with tongs. We ended up adding about two cups of beef broth, just until the ribs were covered with liquid.
Bring close to boil, reduce heat, cover, simmer 2.5 hours. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
We don't eat lots of baking/white potatoes when we can use alternatives (Boston Chef #1 diet, Boston Chef #2 plays along...) so we do a mock one with frozen cauliflower (fresh sometimes, but that fresh cauli can be expensive) boiled and then drained. Add light cream cheese and seasoning and mash it up, just like potatoes. These are an excellent substitute for mashed po's!
* Braised Short Ribs - 7 out of 10 - the texture was PERFECT, so tender, "falling off bone" is overused but true in this case - only 1/2 of the ribs actually hung onto the bone! The meat just stripped apart with the slightest touch - this would be perfect to add homemade bbq to the leftovers and make sandies. * Too much vinegar, however - next time 1/2 cup or less. The vinegar DID give it a great flavor, but the cupful was overpowering... The veggies came out great, too. Not mushy (because they were simmered, not boiled) and with lots of the beef and seasoning flavor.
* Mashed Cauli - 8 out of 10 - SUCH a great substitute for high-carb mashed potatoes... with a little of that beef juice spooned over the top, it is such a great side.
Also, Boston Chef #1 dragged Boston Chef #2 to the MALL where #2 was forced to buy new jeans... but it was worth it because we went into Williams and Sonoma with some $$$ left over on a gift card. We bought a great new 9" wok (we needed a wok!) that was on sale for $50 down from $110. So we'll be stir frying very soon and looking around for great recipes - got any? Post in comments!!! Thanks!