Monday 12 March 2012

Braised Beef Short Ribs

The thing about having friends who work for charities is that sometimes you get roped into charity events, such as, I don't know, all my friends paying donations to come and see me get the shit kicked out of me in a kickboxing match. I had never done any martial art before I unwittingly agreed to this, and thankfully I've so far enjoyed learning. Other less embarrassing events are ones like this, the Smooth Radio Starlight Supper that we hosted over the weekend. The idea is to invite your friends over for dinner and in exchange, they donate money that goes to Macmillan Cancer Support. Nice and simple.

We agreed on a menu that included elements that we would be able to make ahead, so that we didn't leave our 4 guests waiting while we flapped about. Beef short ribs were picked for the main, mainly for the fact that they would taste even better after a night bathing in the braising liquid. Be warned though - this is not a quick recipe. A lot of fat skimming took place. They were quite the beauty; delivered at 5:30am from The East London Steak Co. all wrapped up and with a calling card stating where they're from and who butchered them, they were presented in two sheets, each with 3 ribs and a whole lot of meat surrounding them. Longhorn, my favourite breed.

The sauce from the beef was so rich and ...beefy that I was relieved the polenta it was served with was so plain. The meat still had some resistance and substance to the teeth but slipped off the bone nicely into portions at the table. Black cabbage (or cavalo nero if you want to be fancy) soaked in the juices provided that iron-heavy flavour that complemented the juicy meat well.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Serves 6

(Adapted from this recipe)

2kg beef short ribs
10 shallots, peeled and halved
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 carrots, diced
3 sticks of celery, diced
2 bay leaves
A handful of peppercorns
400mls red wine
360mls oloroso sherry
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of thyme
1.3l water
1 beef stock cube

For the Gremolata, mix together:

A handful of parsley, minced
Zest of 1 lemon, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, minced

Set the oven to 130 degrees C.In a pan, fry the beef ribs very slowly for at least 40 mins, to render the fat out and properly brown the meat. Remove to a large casserole dish. Remove most of the fat and leave a bit to fry the carrots, celery and shallots in. Add the booze and bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Add to the meat. Bring the water to a boil with the stock cube and add to the meat.

Throw in the garlic cloves, peppercorns, vinegar, thyme, bay leaves and put a lid on, and leave it be in the oven for a good 4 hours. It's best to do this overnight so that the fat solidifies and you can remove it easily.

The next day, remove the beef ribs from the sauce being very careful as they may fall apart. Place on a roasting tray. Sieve the meat juice into a wide pan, squashing the vegetables to release any residual flavour and skim any more fat left off. Reduce like hell for a good hour or so to really intensify the flavours. When serving, roast the ribs for 10 - 15 minutes on 200 degrees C and then serve in a large dish with the jucies over them. The sauce needn't be any thicker if you're serving in bowls with runny polenta. Top the beef with the gremolata and carve at the table.


Ed said...

Yes please thank you. Looks super. Like the idea of serving the ribs with polenta. Totally approve of the use of oloroso as the braising booze too.

Richard Elliot said...

You weren't joking when you said this was an involved recipe!

They look fabulous. I love short ribs falling off the bone.

Platter said...

Such a delicious prospect!

Let me know next time your friend are giving donations to see you get the crap knocked out of you in a kick-boxing match ;)

Ahem, but seriously... love the sweetish tinge of oloroso and balsamic. And I always mean to make gremolata - next time it'll happen.

Chris Pople said...

"...delivered at 5:30am..."

Fucking hell - did you specify that time or did they just decide to randomly turn up at your doorstep in the middle of the night?

Looks awesome though - love beef on the bone, and I love the idea of mixing wine and sherry into the juices.

Hollow Legs said...

Ed - thanks! I have a bit of an obsession with polenta.

Richard - it sure was. I was skeptical about the final roasting and then I discovered the ribs were covered with beef crackling. Drool.

Platter - Thanks! it hasn't happened yet... gulp. The gremolata freshens it all up some.

Chris - yes, they deliver between 5am and 8am. The sherry gives it a lovely sweetness.

S said...

beautiful- wine *and* sherry. i love it. x s

Alex said...

Can you cook it on low in a slowcooker overnight instead of in the oven? Always looking for excuses to use the thing

Hollow Legs said...

S - thanks! More booze the better ;)

Alex - yes, we actually did do it in a slow cooker. High for 4 hours, then overnight fat solidfy and low for another 3 hours.

Food Urchin said...

Lovely recipe but what I really want to know is, when is the kickboxing shindig?

Becca said...

I work for Macmillan and wanted to say well done for hosting a Starlight Supper! Ribs look amazing too, will def be trying them out.x

tori said...

Stunning stuff (pst- I think the new header is just lovely too)

Shu Han said...

that looks simply gorgeous lizzie. I love slow-braised meat, when it ends up fall-pff-the-bone tender and you get a rich gelatinous sauce. it's great that you did this for the macmillan cancer support too(: charity should be fun and delicious.

Anonymous said...

Well I was all set to braise a Jacobs, for tomorrow. Too much fat the butcher said, there is fat and there is fat. OK then Charlie, I will go vegetarian tonight then. My butcher is skinny as a rake. I need to lose a few. Perhaps he had my best interests in mind.
Your ribs look scrummy!
Try Gordon Ramsays Far East Great Escape Short ribs. Defiantly a leave until next day job! What a difference.
My risotto with wild leaves goats cheese and rosemary flowers turned out nice. I also got the last of the Pheasants from Charles Freezer (£4:99 for a brace)
My blog with wild leaves risotto and more. Spring is in the air, lots to be foraged.

Hollow Legs said...

Food Urchin - when we're good enough. ARGH! Scared!

Becca - thanks! It was a pleasure.

Tori - thank you! It's nice and flowery for Spring.

Shu Han - Thanks! Absolutely lovely. I think you can go too far with braised meat, you don't want a mush but this was robust enough a cut to stand up to it.

Doesthebellyrulethemind - Yes, they are very fatty but that's why you need to solidify the fat overnight and remove it. I'll look up Gordon's recipe.

Having looked at your link i'm not sure what it has to do with the post but the use of pennywort is interesting.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why I put that either. Pennywort seems to tough for a sallad, seen a few people use it as sallad. Cooking it seemed the obvious answer.