Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

chipotle short ribs tastefood

I won’t lie: These ribs take two days to make. Now, before you click away from this page, just hear me out. I promise that if you make these ribs, you will be a very happy cook. Your family will be eternally grateful. Your guests will be impressed. And you will be rewarded with a deeply flavorful, warmly spiced, tender and rich braise. The only people who might not be pleased will be your neighbors, because they will have to live through a day of incredible aromas wafting from your kitchen window, knowing full well they are not coming to dinner.

Now if that is not enticing enough, here is some more good news: While it takes two days to make these ribs, most of the time you will have little to do in the food prep department, because the ribs will take care of themselves, braising in the oven or sitting in the refrigerator. You will  be actively involved in the beginning, when you brown the meat (a very important step which will make you feel useful), then when you reduce the sauce (which technically your stove will do for you), and then finishing the braise for serving. Your most difficult task will be…waiting. All of the time invested is for good reason: to tenderize the beef to a supple version of itself, and to infuse the meat and sauce with knock-your-socks off flavor. So go ahead and give it a try. Start on a Friday and eat it over the weekend. And feel free to double the amount so you can freeze extras for another day or have a party – it might be a good time to invite the neighbors.

Red Wine and Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

If you have the time (and patience) rub the short ribs with the spices the  night before browning to develop the flavor. The chipotles in adobo will add a nice kick of heat to the braise. Serves 4 to 6.

Dry rub:
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 pounds short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (750 ml) bottle heavy-bodied red wine
1/4 cup chipotles in adobo, chopped with juices
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock (or chicken stock)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rub the meat:
Combine the dry rub spices in a small bowl. Arrange the ribs on a rimmed baking tray. Rub the spices all over the ribs. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour (or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before browning.

Braise:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches without crowding the pan, brown the ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes. (This step is very important, so take the time to do it well). Transfer to a plate or bowl and repeat with the remaining ribs.

Drain off the fat from the pot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, the onion, carrot, and garlic. Saute the vegetables over medium heat, stirring up any brown bits in the pan, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika, and coriander and cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the tomato paste and stir to create a nice slurry. Add the wine, chipotles, and bay leaf and return the ribs and any collected juices to the pot. Pour in the beef stock. If the ribs are not completely covered with the liquid, add more stock or wine to top off the ribs. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven and slow cook until the ribs are very tender, about 3 hours, stirring every hour or so.

Refrigerate:
Remove the pot from the oven. Uncover and let the braise cool slightly. At this point you can remove the bones and cut away any gristle from the ribs or proceed with the bones intact – it’s up to you and how you like to serve the ribs. Cover the pot and refrigerate overnight. (This step is helpful because it will allow the fat to congeal on the top of the stew, which will be easily removed before proceeding. It also allows the flavors to develop overnight.)

Reduce:
At least 1 hour before serving, remove the pot from the refrigerator and lift off the layer of fat on the surface of the stew. Gently reheat the braise over medium-low heat until the stock is liquid enough to remove the ribs. Carefully remove the ribs from the sauce and arrange in a baking dish.

Strain the sauce through a strainer, pressing down on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible, and transfer the sauce to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half and has a thickened to a rich sauce consistency, about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over and around the beef. The beef should not be entirely submerged; if you have extra sauce, reserve for serving. Cover the dish with foil. (The beef may be prepared up to 3 hours in advance of serving to this point. Keep refrigerated until finishing.)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the short ribs in the oven and cook until thoroughly heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve with mashed root vegetables or mashed potatoes.

 

Ode to Fall: Pappardelle with Pork Ragù

~ Pork and Tomato Ragù with Pappardelle ~

I am going to ignore that it is 90 degrees outside. It’s fall after all. For those of you who know me, it’s that time of year when I have a little rant about missing New England weather. September is the time when the air puts on a chill just like a wooly cloak, the sun lowers seductively in the horizon, winking and casting its golden light while the aroma of turning leaves fills the air. I know I shouldn’t complain while I don my sunglasses and smear on more sunscreen, but I do. As I walk about the house in shorts and flip flops, I like to pretend that I am still in northern Europe or Boston, switching out my tank tops for fluffy fleece and packing tissues in my pocket to stop a runny nose. I might need a fan right now, but I can also indulge in warming fall comfort food.

Pappardelle with Pork Ragù

If you can stand it, refrigerate the ragù overnight before serving to allow the flavors to develop. This recipe will make enough ragù to serve a family of four with enough leftover to freeze for a second meal.

2 pounds pork butt, excess fat trimmed, cut in 2 inch chunks
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
2 (28 ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound pappardelle pasta, cooked until al dente
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Salt and pepper the pork. Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering. Add pork in one layer in batches, without overcrowding. Brown on all sides; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining pork. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Add onion, carrots, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Carefully add wine (it may spatter.) Cook, stirring up the brown bits and to burn off the alcohol, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Return pork to the pot and submerge in the sauce. Simmer, covered, over low heat until pork is very tender, about 2 hours. Remove lid and continue to simmer, skimming fat occasionally with a spoon, until sauce is thickened, 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over cooked pappardelle with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.