Saturday, October 13, 2012

Zinfandel-Braised Short Ribs

Reminiscent of a certain beef stew by a certain fantastic cookbook author, I had a feeling this one would be good. How could it be bad? It calls for a BOTTLE of zinfandel. Ribs and wine on sale plus a built-in coupling of mashed potato recipe sealed the deal. Sticking to the recipe for the most part, I only changed the sizes of my rib pieces from 3-4 inches to about 2 inches. Remember, I was mesmerized by the band saw.

Zinfandel-Braised Short Ribs
adapted from Epicurious
click to print

3 tbsp butter, divided, room-temperature
4-5 lbs meaty beef short ribs
kosher salt
2 1/2 c chopped red onions
2 c 1/2-inch cubes peeled parsnips
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 750-mL bottle Zinfandel
2 c low-salt beef broth
1 tbsp all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Sprinkle ribs with coarse salt and pepper.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large oven-proof pot over medium-high heat.

In batches, add ribs to pot in single layer and sauté until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Transfer ribs to large bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot.

Add onions; sauté until brown, about 6 minutes.

Just stirring the onions in the fat caused them to appear brown in just a couple minutes. I made sure to go a full six minutes; the onions were pretty soft. The smells though, wow! I considered taking the pot off the stove and sitting down with it and a spoon.

Add parsnips; sauté until beginning to color, about 6 minutes.

Mix in garlic, then rosemary.

Add wine and broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.

Return ribs and any accumulated juices to pot, arranging in single layer.

Bring to simmer; cover and place in oven. Braise until ribs are very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Using tongs, transfer ribs to clean bowl. Spoon fat from pan juices.

That fat separator? Totally handy and seriously effective in situations like this.

Boil juices until just beginning to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Mix 1 tablespoon butter and flour in small bowl to smooth paste.

Whisk into juices in pot; simmer until thickened enough to coat spoon, about 5 minutes longer. Season gravy with coarse salt and pepper.

Spoon gravy over ribs.

Yep, these ribs were good! There was a certain depth of flavor that was missing and I bet it's because there was no overnight marinate in a glorious dry rub. The lack of marinade didn't change the fact that these ribs turned out perfectly tender just as expected within the written time allowance. The parsnips and onions were enjoyed immensely, certainly something I'd add more of should I make this again.

Eating the ribs with the prescribed mashed potatoes was perfect, and though there were vegetables in the braise, my plate looked a little naked without some color to bring together the stark dark and light differences. Plus there was quite a bit of rosemary happening with each bite and something to slap the taste buds once in a while would've been nice. Maybe some roasted asparagus, sauteed asparagus with mushrooms, or pan-seared brussels sprouts. Something quickly prepared, lightly seasoned, but vibrant and crunchy.

  • butter: $0.18
  • beef short ribs: $16.79
  • red onions: $2.52 
  • parsnips: $2.99 
  • garlic cloves: $0.30
  • fresh rosemary: $0.75 
  • Zinfandel: $4 
  • beef broth: $0.26
Total: $27.79 or $3.47 for each of eight servings.