Thursday, January 12, 2017

Braised Short Ribs With Porcini-Port Wine Sauce

Tender, succulent and meltingly tender, Braised Short Ribs are one of the ultimate comfort foods. From the perfect pot roast to the fragrant complexity of a classic coq au vin, there's really no food more satisfying than a well-braised dish. The magic of braising is that it relies on heat, time, and moisture to successfully break down the tough connective tissue and collagens in certain meats, transforming the dense, well-marbled texture of short ribs until its fall-off-the-bone tender and creating a rich, velvety and deeply flavoured sauce along the way. In this recipe, slowly braising the short ribs in a combination of red wine, port, dried porcini mushrooms, beef broth, tomato paste, a bouquet of aromatic herbs and chopped vegetables gives the meat a deep, dark colour and sumptuous flavour. Braised for three hours then served over sautéed spinach and a mound of mashed potatoes surrounded by a puddle of satiny sauce, these short ribs are exquisitely tender and absolutely delicious. 

Dried porcini mushrooms soaked in hot water for 30 minutes give a rich earthy flavour to the braise

3 1/2-pounds Bone-In English-Style Short Ribs

Short ribs browned on all side in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Diced carrots, onion and celery sautéing in left over drippings from ribs

Tomato paste, Port and red wine are added to the vegetables with the porcini and liquid 

Beef broth is added to the sauce along with 3 bay leaves, fresh thyme and the browned short ribs. then brought to a boil, covered and set in the oven for 3 hours

Braised Short Ribs With Porcini-Port Wine Sauce
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Olvera/Serious Eats

1 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms

2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, about 4 to 6 large ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped large, about 2 cups
1 small onion, finely chopped, about 3/4 cup
1 medium stalk celery, diced medium, about 1 cup
2 tbsp minced garlic, minced 
1/2 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup ruby port
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium beef broth
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary, plus more for garnish
3 sprigs thyme

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Combine the porcini mushrooms and 1 cup of hot water in a small bowl. Place a paper towel over the surface of the liquid to keep the mushrooms submerged. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, generously season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven medium high heat until the oil ripples on the surface, and working in 2 batches, brown the short ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. When done, transfer the browned short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the drippings from the pot. 
Add the carrots, onion, and celery and cook stirring until softened and barely beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring continually, until the tomato paste takes on a brownish hue and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.

Add the port and red wine to pan, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, drain the porcini mushrooms through a strainer to get rid of any grainy residue, then roughly chop and add them plus their liquid to the pot, along with chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and browned short ribs.

Return to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook until completely tender, about 3 hours. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme, and transfer the short ribs to a warm plate. Either remove the meat from the bones, and discard bones, or keep the short ribs bone-in. Turn off the oven and let the short ribs rest at least 15-30 minutes in their juices — I left them for 90 minutes — and then transfer the ribs to a foil lined baking sheet to brown in a preheated 275°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, skim the fat from the top of the sauce and bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until reduced to a sauce-like, mildly thickened consistency, about 5 minutes, then remove some of the jammy braised porcini for garnish. Conversely, purée the sauce with a hand held immersion blender until smooth. Return the meat to the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately over polenta or potato purée with steamed spinach and a little braising liquid around the plate. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

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