Monday, November 15, 2010

Merlot-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Serves 4
  Braised Short Ribs
1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
4 large beef short ribs (about 2 pounds total)
2 Tbl plus 1 Tbl butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 bottle Merlot
2 cups beef broth
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a large, wide-bottomed pot over high heat for 2 minutes.  Add the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium-high, and heat for 1 minute longer.  Meanwhile, pat the short ribs dry with paper towels.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Add the short ribs to the pot in a single layer and sauté, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the ribs to a plate and reserve.  Wipe out the inside of the pot with paper towels, then return to medium-high heat. 
Melt 2 Tbl butter in the pot, then add the chopped onions.  Season with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper, then sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the chopped carrot and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until well browned also, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, 1 minute longer.  Add the tomato paste sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the rosemary sprig, bay leaf and wine.  Bring to a boil, and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the beef broth, and return the short ribs and any of their accumulated juices to the pot, arranging them in a single layer.  Bring to a simmer, then cover.  Braise at the barest of simmers until the ribs are very tender and the meat has pulled away from the bone, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Transfer the ribs with tongs to a clean plate. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve, and discard the solids.  Spoon as much fat as possible from the top of the liquid.  Discard the fat.  Transfer the braising liquid to a smaller pot and place, uncovered, over medium-high heat.  Keep at a strong simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 2 cups and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes (but that is just a rough estimate – this time can vary greatly).  Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir until melted.  Taste the sauce and season as needed with salt and pepper. 
When ready to serve, transfer the short ribs to the pot, and spoon the sauce over the ribs.  Cover and re-heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until hot.  Serve hot.
The short ribs and sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated in an air-tight container.  Reheat over low heat in a covered pot before serving.