Sunday, November 6, 2011

Korean-Style Oven-Browned Short Ribs

While I'm a huge fan of Chef Bruce Aidells, I admit I was skeptical about the Korean-based recipes in The Complete Meat Cookbook. Of course, I had to give one of them a try. Which one to choose? Well, Aidells knows big beefy pieces in stew, so I had to see how he'd handle beef ribs.

Korean-Style Oven-Browned Short Ribs
from The Complete Meat Cookbook can be found here and here
click to print

10 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 c light brown sugar
3 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
6 whole green onions
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 c water
3 lbs English-style bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of external fat
2-3 tbsp sesame oil

If you haven't yet, get your short ribs out of their packages and trim the excess fat.
That's two packages of bone-in ribs, weighing in at a combined total of 4.48 lbs, taken out of the packages and then trimmed of excess fat. Why did I get two packs? I have no idea. And my fat-trimming needs some work -- the beef looks like it has scabs!

Put all but the sesame oil in a Dutch oven, ensuring liquid covers the ribs. Add water and soy sauce as necessary to cover the ribs.

I added the liquids, then the solids, putting the garlic, ginger and onions over the beef. Then I remember a rule about adding things in order they're listed in the ingredients list. So I moved things around so the beef was on top before adding additional soy sauce:water in relative ratios.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; skim any foam from the surface. Cook, uncovered, 1.5-2 hours or until the ribs are tender.
Beef brought to boil and then simmered 1.5 hours skimming foam occasionally; while quite tender, the beef was allowed to simmer another 30 minutes. By then, bones had fallen from the meat.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Remove the ribs from the pot and liquid, reserve liquid; drain ribs well, patting them dry if necessary.
My ribs sat in the colander 10 minutes. Over that time, gravity as well as heat from the ribs themselves yielded pretty dry bones and meat.

Lay the ribs bone-side down on a broiler rack over the pan. Brush the ribs with sesame oil.
Pieces of meat that had lost their bones during simmering above were simply placed atop their bones. I don't think it mattered, except to maybe help prevent the meat from sticking to the broiler pan.

Roast in middle of oven until rib edges become crispy, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, skim fat from the braising liquid surface. Taste the liquid. If it does not have a rich, beefy flavor, boil the liquid to reduce volume and concentrate flavors. The sauce should remain soupy. Ladle sauce into shallow bowls and put a rib or two in each. Serve beef over rice with vegetables, such as steamed spinach and kimchi.

Well, I'll be! These ribs were quite good, distinctly reminiscent of Korean Braised Short Ribs, Take 2, adapted from my first take of the Week of Menus's recipe. I wondered back when I did the Korean Braised Short Ribs what all of that soaking and rinsing of the beef would do -- looks like it eliminated the need to skim foam.

During the simmering portion, the aroma was heart- and apartment-warming. Once the simmering session was complete, I was a little disappointed about the meat losing their bones, but it turned out that had little effect in the outcome, so don't worry if you didn't set the timer.

The beef was certainly flavored like Korean-style beef should be and so very tender under a very slight crust. I particularly enjoyed just the hint of sesame oil flavor. I guessed the beef would be so tender that the soy sauce reduction would only wet my rice, not necessarily adding to the dish (but a spoon requirement). I was correct in that prediction and simply enjoyed the juices from the meat itself.

Bruce Aidells hit another one out of the park, one I'd certainly do again. Next time, for a house-hold of one, I'll stick to one pack of ribs.

  • garlic cloves: $0.26
  • soy sauce: $1.20
  • ginger: $0.13
  • green onions: $0.45
  • vinegar: $0.15
  • bone-in beef short-ribs: $16.53

Total: $18.72 or $3.12 for each of six servings.