Braised beef short ribs

When it comes to ribs, keep it short

Originally appeared in the January 5, 2012 edition of the Southside Times.

Since the weather is anything but predictable, something you can rely on is the indefatigable cooking technique of braising—pot-roasting is an interchangeable term, but the result is the same: economy cuts of meat transformed into tender, almost silky segments of gastronomic magic.  Sound too lofty?  Give this dish a shot in a pot, and you’ll see what I mean.  More here:As opposed to the pork spareribs, beef short ribs are thick and…well, beefy, with more meat clinging to the small sections of bone.

In a dish like this, I like using generous amounts of citrus.  The fruitiness provides a nice counterbalance to the savory signatures, but having that sweetness is also a nice reminder of more temperate climes.  While not widely available, many mainstream markets carry lemongrass as part of their fresh herbs sections (if all else fails, just ask the produce monger).

There is a slight variation to this particular braising technique.  Essentially, you want to dedicate the first installment of the process cooking down the connective tissue, thus making the ribs literally fall-off-the-bone tender.  But following this, you’ll strain your braising liquid and focus on the sauce’s flavor and sticky consistency.  Yes, sticky is good here.  It’s finger food, after all, so just have fun.

Braised beef short ribs

Serves 2 – 3

  • 28 – 30 ounces beef short ribs
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1, 5-inch stalk of lemongrass, split in half
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, minced ginger
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 green onion, whites only (keep greens for garnish)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice, divided (reserve zest for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced (reserve zest for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved with 1 teaspoon water

1.  Season short ribs with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  In a medium-sized stockpot or saucepan, sear short ribs on all sides until you reach a mahogany color.  Remove and set aside.  In same pot, combine the next nine ingredients, along with only ¼ cup of orange juice.  Bring mixture to a vigorous simmer and return ribs to braising liquid.  Lower heat to medium, cover and cook for 1 – ½ hours.

2.  When ribs have become tender and liquid has reduced, remove ribs.  Strain liquid, discarding solids aromatics.  Return braising liquid to pot over medium heat.  Add reaming ¼ cup orange juice, hoisin, lime juice, and add ribs back to liquid.  Allow to simmer for another 20 minutes or until liquid has thickened; use the cornstarch and water mixture (called a slurry) to thicken the liquid to desired consistency.  Garnish ribs with green onions, citrus zest, and orange segments.

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Published in: on January 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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