Playing Zinfully Delicious Short Ribs: Part I

From Rachael’s book, Week in a Day

  • 12 bone-in, meaty beef short ribs of similar weight and size
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons allspice
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium onions, 2 cut into wedges with root end attached, 1 finely chopped
  • 4 large carrots, 3 sliced on an angle or chopped into bite-size pieces, 1 finely chopped
  • 3 small ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • A few stems fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem, finely chopped
  • 1 red Fresno chile pepper, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 750-ml bottle red zinfandel wine
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • A handful of Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Honey, for garnish
  • Parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Crusty bread, for serving
Serves: 4

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pat the ribs dry and season liberally with salt, pepper, allspice and paprika.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons oil, a couple of turns of the pan, over high heat. Add the meat and brown in two batches, turning frequently. Remove the ribs to a plate, pour off the fat, leaving just enough to cook the veggies. Add the onion and carrot wedges to the pan and brown, about 4-5 minutes. Once brown, remove to a plate and reserve.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, onions and carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary leaves, Fresno and bay leaves to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and stir 5-10 minutes, until soft; remove veggies to a plate. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce by 2/3, about 15 minutes. Return the ribs and the onion and carrot wedges back to the pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven and cook 2 1/2 hours. Add the chopped onions and carrots to the pot for the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time.

Remove 4 ribs, for Short Rib Ragu with Drunken Pappardelle, if desired. Cool the remaining 8 ribs completely, then refrigerate.

To serve, skim the fat from the beef. Reheat uncovered over medium heat. Cook 20 minutes or so to heat through. Remove the ribs and reserve.

In a small sauté pan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Whisk in 4 tablespoons flour to make a light brown roux, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of rib sauce into the roux pan, then add back into the stew pot. Reduce the sauce until thickened, about 20 more minutes.

When the beef ribs are ready to serve, bring milk and chicken stock to a bubble in a medium-sized pot. Whisk in polenta. When it starts to firm up, stir in Parm, honey and parsley. Serve 2 ribs per person with crusty bread, polenta, and sauce.

Cook's Note: To increase the number of servings for this dish (say, around holiday time), divide the work between 2 pots and cook 8 to 10 ribs in each pot simultaneously.

Suggestion: Make the short ribs 1 day ahead of serving them to make it easy to skim the fat and to allow the flavors to fully develop.