Now that the fall season is officially launched, it’s time to braise. After all, ’tis the season for fleece and woolies, lighting the fireplace, and reaching for our Dutch ovens. It’s time for cozy warmth and slow-food days, with the aromas of meat and spice wafting through the house. It’s meant for braises, stews and roasts, accompanied by squidgy mashes and bubbling gratins. No matter the neck of the woods in which you live or the weather outside, autumn is in the air — and on the menu.
Short ribs are excellent for slow-cooked braises. The long cook time delivers flavor and fall-off-the-bone meat. Once cooked, reduce the braising juices for a thick and rich sauce that you can use to glaze the ribs and for serving. Ideally, take it even slower: Make the ribs a day in advance and let the cooked ribs muddle in the braising liquid overnight. Not only does this allow the flavors to develop even further, but the next day, the fat will have risen to the top and solidified, for easy removal and a clean sauce.
Braised and Glazed Short Ribs
Serves 4 to 6
3½ to 4 pounds short ribs with bone
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6-ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (750ml) bottle full-bodied red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy, oven-proof pot with lid over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the short ribs on all sides without overcrowding the pan and transfer to a plate.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pot. Add the onion, carrot and garlic. Saute over medium-high heat, scraping up any brown bits, until the vegetables brighten in color and begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika, cumin and coriander, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine, soy sauce, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Return the short ribs to the pot, submerging them in the liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off.
Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from oven.
(The ribs can be prepared in advance to this point. Cool the ribs in the sauce and refrigerate overnight in the pot. The next day, the fat will have risen to the top. Lift off the fat and discard.
Gently warm the pot on the stove to loosen the ribs from the stock and proceed with the recipe.)
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Transfer the short ribs to a roasting pan or baking dish.
Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until thickened and reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes, skimming any fat from the top. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
Brush the meat with the reduced sauce. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast the ribs until they are glazed and beginning to crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
Lynda Balslev is a San Francisco Bay Area cookbook author, food and travel writer and recipe developer.