It looks like Summer is over, which, to me, means it’s time for slow cooked, falling off the bone meat. Short ribs are a little scary to most people, but they are one of the most versatile cuts of beef you can buy because they can be sliced thin and grilled quickly (e.g. Korean galbi) but are also perfect for slow braises like this.
Here’s a basic template for a short rib braise, which can be customised with any flavour you want; Thai style? substitute the herbs/ red wine for a bit of lemongrass/ galangal/ lime leaf and halve the stock with coconut milk. Jamaican jerk style? Add some all-spice/ scotch bonnets/ spring onions/ ginger when frying the vegetables. The possibilities are endless!
- 1kg beef short ribs – look for good marbling and plenty of meat, these were from the excellent Ginger Pig
- Plain flour
- 2 medium onions, roughly diced
- 2 sticks of celery, roughly diced
- 2 medium carrots, roughly diced
- 250ml Red wine (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 500ml Beef stock, good quality (home-made or shop bought, just not a cube)
- Preheat the oven to 130°c, and get an oven-proof lidded pot heating on a medium flame.
- Prepare the beef ribs; firstly, using a razor sharp knife (a fish knife is pretty good here), remove the silver skin from the top while trying to remove as little meat as possible – this will not break down in cooking and will remain tough, so it’s best to get rid of it.
- lightly salt then flour the ribs on all sides – no pepper at this point, as it will burn and turn slightly bitter
- Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pot and add the ribs – brown them on all sides, about two minutes per side. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
- Throw in the onions, celery and carrots. Add a pinch of salt and cook them for about 8 minutes until softened and starting to brown, stirring occasionally. Then add the red wine and reduce by at least half (optional).
- Lay the herbs on top of the vegetables, then nestle the rested ribs on top. Add the beef stock, and top up with water until the ribs are half covered. put a sheet of foil over the pan then put the lid on and stick it in the oven for 2 hours, or until tender.
- When done (the meat will come off of the bone with ease) remove the meat and set aside. remove all the vegetables from the liquid by first pouring through a colander to get rid of the big bits, then straining into a pan through a fine sieve to get rid of gritty bits. Bring to a boil and skim off as much fat as possible. Little tip – if you move the pot to one side of the flame so only half is bubbling, the fat gets pushed to the other side making it much easier to remove. Reduce this liquid by about ¾ until it has thickened and become glossy.
- Slice the meat off of the bone, removing any gristle (leftovers scraps are nice snacks to pick at!) and add to the reduced sauce to warm and coat, and add to your carb of choice!