Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale

 A couple of months ago our friends asked if we wanted a share of a side of locally-raised beef. I usually don't buy beef or steak at the local mega-mart because it never tastes that great, has a slight pink fluorescent twinge, and sometimes smells, well, "off."

Imagine my delight when I first opened the vacuum package on a piece of chuck to make this stew. The meat was a beautiful deep red, hardly any fat, and had no funky smell.

ANYWAYS, now that I have lots of different cuts of beef taking up space in the freezer, I'm getting a chance to try  new recipes. Last week I decided to make Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze from All About Braising. A lot of the short rib recipes I found called for braising the ribs in red wine, but I'm more of a beer fan, so I went with this one. Plus, there is a large stock of maple syrup in the cupboard that came from trees from our neighbors' farm and was boiled down by the local Amish, and I used the rosemary from my garden.

So without further ado, I give you my take on Molly Stevens' wonderful recipe. This dish takes some time to make, but it's not complicated. You can even make most of it ahead of time and finish it off right before you serve it.

Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze (serves 6) from All About Braising
3 1/2-4 lbs. bone-in short ribs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp of EVOO
2 large yellow onions
1 carrot, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups of porter ale (Founders)
3/4 cup beef stock
1 leafy fresh rosemary sprig
1 large (or 2 small) bay leaves

For the glaze:
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1-2 leafy fresh rosemary sprigs
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard (the original recipe calls for horseradish)

The day before you plan to make the dish, trim any excess fat from the ribs. Next, salt the short ribs, arrange them in one layer on a baking dish, cover them in plastic wrap, and put them back in the fridge.

One  the day you plan to cook your ribs, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Gently pat the ribs try with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture (you still want the salt to stay on). Then, season the meat with pepper.

Heat the EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the ribs on all sides (you may have to do this in batches. It took about 3-4 minutes per side to get a good sear on the beef. Transfer the ribs to a plate/pan.

Once all the ribs are browned, pour off all the fat except for one tablespoon. Return the pot to the heat and add the onions and carrot. Season with S&P and cook until softened, at least five minutes. 

Next, add the porter to the Dutch oven, bringing it to a boil. Boil it for two minutes, and deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the stock, bring the liquid to a boil again, and then reduce the head to a simmer. Place the ribs in the Dutch oven, along with any of their juices, and tuck the rosemary spring and bay leaves into the pot.

Cover the ingredients with parchment paper-- gently press it down so it barely touches the ribs, then put  the lid on the pot. Place the pot in the oven, and turn the ribs every 45 minutes, until fork tender. The total cooking time should be about 2 1/2 hours. 

Go ahead and prepare the glaze (even if you're not planning to eat for another couple of hours-- it needs  time for the flavors to meld). Put the maple syrup and rosemary sprig in a small pot. Heat the mixture gently until it's just boiling. Then, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and set it aside for the flavors to infuse for one hour. (If you're making it ahead of time, put it in the fridge after the hour is up.)

Once the ribs are fork tender, remove them from the Dutch oven and place them in a shallow baking dish (just make sure they are in one layer). Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables from the pot and distribute them around the ribs in the baking dish. If you are planning to serve the ribs right away, cover them with foil to keep them warm. If you're serving the dish later, you can allow the ribs to cool slightly, and store them in the fridge until dinner.

Next, separate the fat from the rest of the braising liquid*. Then, return the braising liquid to the Dutch oven, bring to a steady simmer, and reduce it until only 1/2 cup remains. It should resemble a syrup. Season with S&P if necessary.

When you're ready to serve the short ribs (and you made them ahead of time like me), place them in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes to reheat them. Once they're reheated, take them out of the oven and pre-heat the broiler. Now, get your glaze out, remove the rosemary sprig, and add the mustard to the glaze, and then brush it over the ribs (you may need to reheat the glaze to get it to a brush-able consistency). 

Then, pour the reduced syrupy braising liquid around the ribs (don't pour it over the glaze). Place the pan under the broiler and cook until the surface turns glossy and they start to sizzle. This took about four minutes in my oven.

Now you're (finally) ready to serve! I put a rib in a shallow bowl, along with the vegetables and liquid. I served these with bread to sop up all the juices. 

*Note-I made this recipe in the morning, and then finished off the braising liquid right before dinner. I found that letting the braising liquid sit in the fridge for a couple of hours made the fat much easier to remove.*

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