Thanksgiving test: Wine-braised short ribs

I’m so excited for Thanksgiving. For the first time, my husband and I are hosting our family. We usually travel across the country visiting different relatives, sharing the love, and enjoying our family and friends. Of course there are pros and cons to this, well, mostly pros: We get to hang out with the family and feast on delicious food, without having to do much more than help out where we’re needed. The only con I can think of is the traveling – not exactly fun during the holidays.

So this year being home will be a big change, and I am pumped! But I’ve been stressing out about all the details for weeks. At the top of the to-do list is planning the menu, of course. And not just for Thanksgiving dinner – I’ve got to plan breakfasts, snacks and other dinners for pretty much the entire week. Jesus be a make-ahead meal. Oh, and did I mention we’ll have nine guests here? NINE. That’s a lot of eating.

So I’ve started testing some recipes to feed the masses. Last night I tried making wine-braised short ribs, which I’ve had at restaurants several times but had never cooked. I landed on the fabulous Anne Burrell’s wine-braised short ribs, which were delicious! My husband agreed and even had seconds. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said when pressed for specific feedback. The only thing I’d change would be to trim more of the fat before cooking. Though most of it melted down into the sauce, I still found several globs while we ate. I know a lot of people like the chunks of fat, but it’s a weird mouth feel for me.

I made two minor tweaks:

  • Added a couple teaspoons of sugar to balance the bitterness of the sauce.
  • Cooked it early in the morning, refrigerated it, then took off most of the solidified fat in the sauce before reheating.

Served over mashed! Nomnomnom

I want to try making them once or twice more before Thanksgiving. What is your favorite recipe for short ribs? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Anne Burrell’s Braised Short Ribs

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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