As promised a few days ago, some pictures from my session of cooking braised beef short ribs. I won’t give you the recipe I used, because it’s not mine. It’s Ruth Pretty’s recipe, and it’s available on line: Ruth Pretty’s Braised Beef Short Ribs.
There is one unaccountable flaw in Ruth Pretty’s recipe. She omits the critical first step.
Pour yourself a glass of wine. You will be using red wine in the recipe, and it does take an hour or so, less if you are efficient, to get everything underway. So as befits a long, slow cook, why not do it in leisurely fashion, with glass of wine to hand. I’ve used a Shingle Peak merlot, for the very good reason that it was on special at the local supermarket when I was buying some of the other ingredients I needed.
You need some beef short ribs. It’s an American cut, so you will need to talk to your butcher about it, and order the meat in advance. You need to ask your butcher to bone some of the short ribs from the flank of the beast, and then to cut the boned meat across the grain into strips about 5cm wide by about 12cm long, and about 2 to 3cm thick (if possible). They should end up looking something like this (vegetarians really ought to avert their eyes about now).
For your information, the butchers in Gipps St in Karori, Wellington, and in the Glenunga shops by the small Drake supermarket towards the top of Glen Osmond Rd in Adelaide, and on the corner of Broadway and Albert St in Palmerston North all know how to prepare this cut of meat. (You may notice that the locations of these butchers bears a curious resemblance to the locations where we have lived in the past six or seven years or so.) Even though you need to get this meat from a butcher rather than a supermarket, it’s comparatively cheap. Usually, this cut is made into mince, so although you will end up paying a little more than standard supermarket mince prices, it’s not as though you are paying for beef fillet.
The recipe calls for the beef to be floured, and then seared in butter. Yes, butter. It tastes divine. You could do it in oil, but that would be no fun. Also, by the time you have served about eight people, they will eat about a teaspoon of butter each. It really isn’t a huge problem.
I was feeding seven people, and I was hoping to have enough to serve leftovers the next night. So I put together quite a large tray of seared beef ribs.
Once they were tucked into the tray, per the recipe, I prepared a mix of onions and garlic and celery and carrot and herbs and salt and pepper and beef stock and red wine, and then poured it all over the ribs.
I sealed the tray with tin foil, and put it into the oven for three hours, and forgot about it, while I sat on the verandah gossiping with my parents. Eventually, I cooked up some agria potatoes and mashed them. I served the ribs on a bed of mash, with roasted parsnips (new season, purchased at the Albert St market that morning) and green beans on the side. Alas, I forgot to take any photos (too much red wine, perhaps). But the next evening, I reheated the leftovers for dinner, serving them on rosti.
You can see how rich and dark the beef is. The flavour is intense, and the meat meltingly tender, thanks to the long slow cooking. This really is one of those dishes that is better the next day, so if you have time, make it a day ahead (Ruth Pretty’s recipe has varying cooking times depending on whether you plan to reheat it). Do try cooking it, especially now that autumn is in the air.