Cooking short ribs is very popular these days and for good reason. When braised, they become delicious, taking on the flavors of the braising liquids and melding with their own rich textures and flavors—a perfect cold day recipe.
For this recipe, I put together a mélange of Asian ingredients with no particular country in mind, but decidedly rich and exotic. If you have any leftover, this makes a stellar filler for ravioli—try using dumpling wrappers instead of making fresh pasta for a quick dinner. Start by searing about 6 pounds of bone-in short ribs and removing them to a plate.
To the pan, add the basic building blocks of any great sauce—onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Then to make it exotic and crazy delicious, add cilantro, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, some clove and star anise AND some tamarind paste if you like. Put the ribs back in the pan, cover and place in a 350 degree oven for a good 3 hours. They’ll come out transformed and so will you after you eat them up.
6 bone-in short ribs (5 to 6 pounds)
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup packed cilantro leaves
2 inches ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bottle dry white wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
1 tablespoon tamarind paste, optional (or ½ cup tamarind juice), optional
3 star anise pods
Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a large, heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs and brown well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan—cook in batches, if necessary. Remove to a plate.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together onion, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, and cilantro until it forms a coarse paste. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan and the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and cook until softened and very fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar, soy sauce, and water, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by one-third. Stir in the tamarind paste.
Return the short ribs to the pan. Add the star anise and clove. Cover pan and place in oven for 3 hours. Turn the ribs over halfway through cooking time. Remove lid the last 20 minutes of cooking to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Place short ribs on a platter and skim off any fat and pour sauce over the top.
(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.
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