Sunday, January 31, 2010

Restaurant-Quality (and Grass Fed) Short Ribs and Homemade Grits

Photos (Lexi Van de Walle): Bubbling Short Ribs; Short Ribs Plated with Grits

Yesterday, I made short ribs for myself and my husband using a slightly modified version of Anne Burrell's (of Food Network fame) short rib recipe below. I've had her cooking quite a few times at Italian Wine Merchant -- including my own wedding rehearsal and out-of-towners dinner at IWM in 2004 -- where she was the head chef for many years. These short ribs are over the moon -- best I've ever eaten if I do say so myself.

I started in the morning using a little more than a pound and a half of short ribs from Grazin' Angus Acres, and followed the recipe (more or less) through the first 1 1/2 hours of cooking in the oven. Then I took out the pot to let it cool and put it in the refrigerator. Taking the pot out served two purposes. First, I wanted to go the gym and not worry about the ribs. And second, I thought the 6+ hour stay in the refrigerator would allow the partially cooked meat to marinate in the fabulous veggie and wine braising liquid to add flavor and tenderness. About 2 hours before we sat down for dinner I popped the Dutch oven back in the oven and finished the recipe as directed.

I was out of polenta so I served the ribs over homemade grits (that my Nawlins husband Henry made using 1% milk) that were cooked to creamy perfection with a side of crispy, roasted kale with a generous sprinkle of course sea salt and pepper.

Grazin' Angus Acres
Ghent, NY
on Facebook and the Internet

Chip, one of the friendly co-owners of this farm, knows his politics and so does his father-in-law. When you buy their locally raised and locally processed, natural, grass-fed and grass-finished 100% black angus beef (that has no hormones or antibiotics) you're sure to end up in a conversation about the environment, or how much healthier and happier grass fed cows are. And, if you're anything like me, you'll exchange recipe ideas and pick up some cooking tips for the broad array of grass-fed products (over 25 items including filet mignon, sausages, osso bucco, pre-made burgers, beef hot dogs and, of course, short ribs).

Anne Burrell's (Easy) Braised Short Ribs from Food Network

6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 pounds)
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 1/2 cups tomato paste

2 to 3 cups hearty red wine

2 cups water

1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string

2 bay leaves

Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart.

Serve with the braising liquid.

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