Everyone should have a signature dish. Something you love to make and make so well that it becomes your standard for both entertaining and quiet nights at home. My signature dish is braised short ribs. I remember a time when I hated handling raw beef. I was intimidated by the preparation and feared I'd screw it up. Then I got a cookbook called "Bones" and decided to tackle short ribs. Braising is so incredibly easy and this recipe is perfect every time. I've made it countless times now, served it at dinner parties, for evenings with friends and on many chilly nights when comfort food is key.
Last night was one of those nights. We had some older Bordeaux to drink and it was a cold, dreary day. The perfect pairing.
You can modify this recipe and it will still be incredible. I've done it without the red wine in a pinch, but I like the acidity it provides. If you don't have wine (we know that wouldn't happen here...) you could use a broth instead. You can sub the fresh herbs for dried, but don't skip them. I almost never bother with the chopped fresh herbs for serving because I can't wait to eat these the moment they come out of the oven! I usually let them braise for longer than the recipe states - the longer the better. Just put the lid back on to keep the moisture in.
They are great with polenta or just by themselves. Last night I also roasted some Brussels sprouts. Give these a try and let me know if you love them as much as I do!
Braised Short Ribs (from Bones)
3.5 pounds cross-cut short ribs, cut into pieces (ask the butcher to cut them for you)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, diced
1.5 cups dry red wine
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 serrano chile, stem removed
One 14 ounce can whole tomatoes
3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 large basil sprig, plus 1/3 cup slivered basil leaves
1 large thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Pat the ribs dry and season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.
Add the onion to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until slightly softened. Pour in the red wine and bring to a boil, deglazing the pot by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Add the carrots, garlic, chile and tomatoes, with their juices. Bring to a boil, then add the ribs, with any juices, the parsley, basil and thyme sprigs, and the bay leaf.
Remove the pot from the heat and cover with a damp piece of parchment paper and then the lid. Transfer to the oven and cook covered for 1.5 hours.
Remove the lid and parchment paper and cook the ribs for another 1.5 hours or until very tender.
If making ahead, let the ribs cool, then refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the layer of fat and discard the herbs sprigs and chile. Reheat, covered, in a 300 F oven for about an hour, or until heated through. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, check the seasoning, and serve.
If serving the ribs immediately, tip the pan and skim off as much fat as possible. Remove the herb sprigs and chile pepper, sprinkle with the chopped herbs and check the seasoning.