Sunday, 11 March 2012
How to cook shortribs - with brilliant leftovers
Just before winter finally disappears (although looks like I may already have missed the boat) here's a wonderfully warming dish of braised beef shortribs I made last weekend when I was having a bit of freezer clearout. To be honest I'd forgotten about them - as you do. They were a bargain I'd picked up in one of our local Bristol butchers Ruby & White for under £10, I seem to remember. Impressive as there was enough for two generous meals.
First I followed the recipe below from The Frugal Cook which gave us two socking great ribs to feast on on Sunday night. I left them in the AGA overnight, cooled and skimmed them the following morning then reheated them for dinner along with some roast carrots.
You don't have to use a whole bottle of wine for the dish (I'm lucky enough to have a ridiculous number of open bottles due to the day job) - if you replace half with stock it will still be delicious - but more gravy-like.
Braised beef short-ribs
Short-rib is a classic American and French cut which used to be quite hard to find but which is increasingly widely available. They’re thick chunky wedges of beef on the bone and need long slow cooking.
2 tbsp oil
1.2kg beef short ribs
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 level tbsp tomato purée
1 rounded tbsp plain flour
600-700ml full-bodied red wine or wine and stock combined + an extra half glassful
2 sprigs of thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan or casserole and brown the ribs on all sides. Set aside. Turn the heat down and fry the chopped onions and carrots in the oil until beginning to soften (about 7-8 minutes). Stir in the garlic and tomato puree and cook for a minute over a low heat then stir in the flour. Gradually add 500ml red wine then heat, stirring, until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Return the ribs to the pan, adding enough extra wine, stock or water to ensure they’re covered with sauce and bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down and simmer on the lowest possible heat or transfer the casserole to a low oven (140°C/275°F/Gas 1) for 3 1/2 to 4 hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Check the casserole every hour or so to make sure it isn’t cooking too fast. The surface should barely tremble. Remove from the heat and cool then refrigerate overnight. Skim the fat off the surface of the casserole then return the ribs to the liquid in the casserole. Add another half glassful of red wine and reheat slowly.
The following night I made the dish I'd actually been gagging to make - a simplified version of the beef shin macaroni (aka macaronnade) in the Hawksmoor at Home cookbook in which I had a hand. You simply shred the remaining meat and fold it and the sauce - of which you need a fair bit - into some freshly cooked short or 'elbow' macaroni. The kind you use for macaroni cheese. I bought mine loose in a shop called Scoopaway in Gloucester Road.
Then you layer it up in an ovenproof dish with a good sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan between each layer and bake it at about 190°C for half an hour or so. About 60-75g of parmesan in total - you need to be quite generous with it. I won't say it's the world's most beautiful dish (not helped by this murky low-lit photo) but it is insanely good. Like the best spag bol you've ever tasted. Feeds 4.