Friday, March 2, 2012

Short Ribs Braised in Porter with Molasses-Rosemary Glaze

I copied this recipe out of Oregon FOODday a very long time ago but never made it for various reasons, one of which being regular country-style short ribs were never a cut we requested from the butcher for the beef we buy every year. We always get Argentine-style short ribs. This year we went for the country-style, and the change is a welcome one.

The recipe actually calls for a maple-rosemary glaze. There are very few food items I detest as much as maple (milk and eggs are two, but I don't mind cooking with those - I can't even stand the smell of maple syrup), so I made the substitution of molasses. Yum. Since molasses is a bit thicker than maple syrup, I thinned it with just a touch of porter. Yum again.

This recipe takes a LONG time. I read the cooking time of 2.5 hours, and thought, perfect, this will be done at right about 8. Like a total novice, I didn't think about the time needed for prep. Obviously I haven't been cooking regularly enough. I ended up eating at more like 9.30. 

3 1/2 to 4 lbs meaty, bone-in short ribs
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups porter ale, more if needed
3/4 cup beef, veal, or chicken stock
3 3 to 4 inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
3 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish

1. Optional: one or two days before braising, arrange the short ribs in a loose layer on a tray. Sprinkle them all over with 1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt (there is no need to rub the salt into the meat) and cover loosely with wax paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

2. Preheat the oven to 300F. Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel, but don't try to rub off the salt. Season with pepper. If you didn't salt the ribs in advance, season them now with salt and pepper.

3. Pour the oil into a Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add only as many ribs as fit without touching and brown them, turning with tongs, until brown on all sides, about 4 min. per side. Transfer seared ribs to platter without stacking and continue until all ribs are browned.

4. Pour off and discard all but about a Tbsp of fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium high heat and add the onions and carrot. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring a few times, until the vegetables start to brown and soften, about 5 min. 

5. Add the porter and bring to a full boil. Boil for 2 min, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge and dissolve bits. Pour in the stock, bring again to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Return ribs to the pot along with any juices releases as they sat. Tuck one rosemary sprig and the bay leaves in between the ribs. The ribs should be partially submerged in the liquid. If necessary, add a bit more porter or water.

6. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper, pressing down so it nearly touches the ribs and hangs over the edges of the pot by about an inch. Set the lid securely in place. Slide the pot into the oven and braise at a gentle simmer, turning the ribs with tongs so as not to tear up the meat, every 40 to 45 minutes, until fork tender, about 2.5 hours. Check after the first 10 minutes to see that the liquid isn't simmering too aggressively; if it is, lower the oven temp 10 or 15 degrees.

7. While the ribs are braising, combine the molasses with the remaining rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan. Heat to a gentle boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 1 hour (can be made ahead of time).

8. When the ribs are tender and the meat is pulling away from the bones, use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully transfer them to a flameproof gratin dish that is large enough to accommodate them in a single layer. Try to keep the ribs on the bones and intact, but don't worry if some bones slip out. Scoop out the vegetables with a slotted spoon and arrange them around the ribs. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

9. Tilt the braising pot to collect the juices in one end and skim off as much surface fat as you can with a large spoon. If the braising liquid exceeds 1 cup, bring it to a vigorous simmer over medium-high heat and cook it down to close to 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. It should have a syrupy consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

10. Heat the broiler on high. If the glaze has been refrigerated, warm slightly so it is pourable. Remove the rosemary sprigs, running your fingers down the length of the springs so you save every drop of glaze. Put the horseradish in a small strainer, or the palm of your hand, and press or squeeze over the sink to eliminate as much liquid as possible, then stir the horseradish into the glaze. Brush the glaze on the tops of the short ribs. Pour the reduced braising liquid around the ribs. Slide the ribs under the broiler and broil until the surface of the ribs develops a shiny, almost carmelized glaze and you can hear them sizzle, about 4 minutes.

11. Transfer the ribs to serving plates. Spoon the braising liquid around, not over, the ribs and serve immediately.

I served the ribs with rosemary fingerling potatoes. I am not going to write out that recipe because the recipe above is super long and I am done writing out recipes. Also, I don't have a recipe for the potatoes so I'd have to make it up = a lot of effort. Some other time, readers.

Bon appetit.

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