I really felt like cooking yesterday and it was cool enough to have the oven on all afternoon so I decided to braise the short ribs in the oven. (I usually do them on top of the stove but have to stir frequently to keep the bottom from burning–the oven solves that.) There were a lot of items to get prepped so I pulled out my big cutting board and laid out the ingredients:
Top right are the ingredients for the mirepoix. In the center, sage, thyme and rosemary sprigs from the garden. The 3 big onions will get caramelized, and the big carrots will get prepped and added later. The meat, about 2 pounds of grass-fed shortribs, will need to be cleaned of the silverskin you can see on the one top left.
And here are all the ingredients after they have been prepped. I love this part of a complicated recipe. I like peeling, slicing, chopping–I find it soothing. (Not in the picture is a big stainless steel bowl–$2 at Job Lots–that acts as what the chef Anne Burrell calls her “thank you for coming” bowl. Everything for the trash gets stashed there until the work is done.) I used 6 cloves of the garlic, tied the herbs into a bundle for easy removal later, and you can see the meat top left no longer has silverskin (they all had it and it took a couple minutes with a sharp knife to trim it off because that will only get tough and it’s not something you want to serve.)
With all this work done, the rest was easy–just time consuming. First, the meat was salt and peppered and then browned heavily in bacon fat. (I forgot to show the 3 strips of bacon I diced and fried, leaving the fat in the pan and adding them back in later.) Then the sliced onions were fried, adding water to keep them from burning, until they were golden. Last, the diced onion, celery, carrot were lightly browned, and then the chopped garlic was added. Added a large bottle of dark beer, stirred everything up and added the meat. Baked in 350 oven for 2 hours covered–that aroma filling the house on a grey rainy day was a great bonus–added the carrots and turned it down to 300 for two hours more (last half hour with lid off) and it was done. One tsp cornstarch mixed with a quarter cup of water was added once it was out of the oven, giving the sauce a great smoothness and body. Served on mashed potatoes, it was fork-tender, deep, dark and rich–heavenly.