I found it.
I’ve been searching for years and I finally found it… the holy grail.
Not the “real” holy grail of course – but in the world of cooking and entertaining, these provide their own version of salvation.
The perfect winter entertaining dish. It does exist.
And this weekend I just made them again, proving to myself this was no fluke.
So what is it? Perhaps the BEST braised short ribs. Ever. I hope, after reading this blog you know that I don’t say those things lightly. When it comes to food, I have a hard time terming anything “the best” – I am pretty much an “equal opportunity eater”. I generally like all (ok, not ALL but most!) variations of dishes. But in this case, these braised short ribs are so far above any other recipe for short ribs I’ve made (and I have made a lot!) that I think they deserve the title. These are tender and meaty and covered in a luscious sauce surrounded with fingerling potatoes, mushrooms and pearl onions. Oh, and did I mention that bacon is also involved and um… a bottle and half of wine?
Yes, they are “best” for a reason… or five.
So, why are they good for parties? Let me count the ways.
1.You really should make them a day ahead.
2. They are easy to eat – no bones to have to cut around!
3. You can get all the ingredients in a well stocked grocery store. Amen.
4.They are rich and indulgent.
5. And because of #4, everything else you serve as part of the meal (appetizer, salad, dessert) should be simpler.
So, what exactly do you serve with them? Well, here’s the menu -
Salmon Gravlax, cucumber salad, Creme Fraiche with Finger limes
Greens, Endive, hazelnut vinaigrette
Braised Short Ribs with Fingerlings, Bacon and Pearl Onions
Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce
This recipe is adapted from Florent Marneau - chef and owner of Marche Moderne. To make ahead, complete dish through reducing the sauce. After reducing the sauce add back the meat and vegetables (that you removed before reducing the sauce) and refrigerate. This makes degreasing the sauce much easier! After removing the cold meat and vegetable mixture from the refrigerator, just skim off the fat at the top and reheat according to the recipe directions. You can do the potatoes, onions and bacon ahead of time and mix in with the meat mixture so that all you need to do to serve is skim off the fat and reheat. I prefer to cook the potatoes, onions and bacon just prior to serving and serve the meat mixture on top of the potatoes and onions but either way is delicious!
- 5 lbs. boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 3 shallots, peeled and diced
- 3 ribs of celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
- 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 - 750 mL bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
- 8 cups low sodium beef stock
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 lbs. fingerling potatoes
- 8 oz. thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/4 inch crosswise strips
- 1 lb. assorted wild mushrooms (chanterelles if you can find them), quartered or sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 10 oz. pearl or cippolini onions - blanched and peeled.
- Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large dutch add the 2 Tbsp. canola oil and heat over medium high heat. Pat beef dry with paper towels. In order to get a good sear on the beef it needs to be dry! Add some of the beef cubes, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook the beef until it is deep brown on the bottom. You will know the beef is done when it easily releases from the pan when you try to move it! If it sticks to the pan, it isn't ready. Continue to cook the beef in batches - remove cooked pieces to a rimmed sheet pan.
- When the beef is all cooked add the onions and shallots to the dutch oven. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned and the onions are slightly translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. DO NOT BROWN the garlic! Stir in the tomatoes (with their juices), the tomato paste, celery and the bay leaf. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the white and red wine, and using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of pan, loosening all the brown bits. Add the stock and the soy sauce, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add the beef (and any accumulated juices) to the pan and place, uncovered in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cover. Cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours. Remove dutch oven from the oven. Remove the beef and the vegetables from the sauce. Over medium heat, cook the sauce and reduce to about 3 cups - about 20 minutes.
- While meat is in the oven, Place the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the bacon in the 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes until some of the fat has rendered. Add the sliced fingerling potatoes and the pearl onions and toss in the bacon fat. Return the pan to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes until the potatoes and onions are browned and tender. Remove and set aside.
- In a medium saute pan, add a little of the reserved bacon drippings (from the onions and potatoes) to the saute pan. Heat over medium high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook until nicely browned (don't stir!) on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Place the meat, vegetables, sauce, potatoes, onion and bacon mixture in the dutch oven and re heat in a 350 degree oven. Taste and adjust seasoning. To serve, spoon out meat and vegetables and drizzle with a little additional sauce.