Sunday, January 23, 2011

Football & Braised Beef Short Ribs

Dan is from Chicago and therefore a tried and true Bears fan. My dad never really had sports teams that he was die hard about and subsequently neither do my sister and I. Dan and his fam truly enjoys watching all Chi-town teams throughout the year. I digress, since Dan and I started dating I have adopted his teams, Bears, Hawks, Cubbies and Caps and I have attempted to become more of a "fan" by his terms but it's rough. The only team that I've ever really jived with is the Caps; they are fun to watch and I've followed them enough to somewhat know the players.

Today, the Packers vs. Bears game was a big deal for Dan (though he said the Bears would likely lose...and they did) just because of the historic nature of the event. Thus, I decided to show my enthusiasm through food. I made a little snack spread for him for during the game (it was a 2pm start) and a hearty dinner of braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. I thought with 2 big football games a rustic, somewhat old school, Sunday night meal was in order.

The first picture is of my short rib spread that I got from Fleisher's late Saturday afternoon.

The two above shots are the gorgeous "rainbow" carrots from the Breezyhill Farm Market. They not only look beautiful but they were delicious as well; I thought it was interesting that the ones that were purple on the outside were actually bright orange on the inside; these are the things I am learning by eating fresh from farm vs. uniformly from the supermarket.

Midway through the cooking process; this is basically my giant dutch oven full of yummy simmering goodness.

Above is the finished product. The recipe I turned to is one by John Besh--chef and owner of August in NOLA--below is his recipe with a few slight tweaks

Serves 4
--4 lbs beef short ribs (His calls for a flanken style (across the bone) or English style (parallel to the bone), noting that flanken are easier to deal with but slightly more fatty; I honestly have no clue what I used--I just asked the wonderful guy at Fleisher's for 4 lbs of short ribs and I used those!)
--Coarse salt and black pepper (used maldon salt here and fresh cracked pepper)
--3 cups zinfandel (I used a red version from Cali that my local shop recommended)
--1/2 cup sugar
--6 oz canned chopped tomatoes
--2 cups beef stock (JB's version calls for broth but Fleisher's has lovely stock)
--1 tbsp minced garlic
--3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked off stem
--2 bay leaves
--3 oz canola oil
--1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
--2 medium carrots, diced (1/2 cup)
--2 stalks celery, diced (1/2 cup)

Note: John also uses 2 oz dried mushrooms, preferably porcini; Dan and I are not the biggest fungi fans so I omitted this, but I'm sure that it adds a lovely earthy element.

1. Season short ribs with salt and pepper; don't be stingy here. In a separate bowl, whisk together wine, sugar, tomatoes, beef broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt.

2. Pour canola oil into a Dutch oven (at least 5 quarts) and place over medium high heat (you really don't need to put cast iron on super high because it holds heat so well). When oil is hot, working in small batches, brown the meat on all sides.
3. When all beef is browned, set aside on a plate, cover under foil and keep warm. Add onion, carrots, and celery, to the pot with oil allowing veggies to cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Return beef to the pot and add wine/stock mixture at this time. Allow wine to come to a boil before reducing heat, skimming fat from surface. *If you are going to add the mushrooms, allow to simmer for several minutes and then add to the pot.

5. Cover and simmer over low heat until meat is fork tender and nearly falling off the bone, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

6. Once the beef has cooked, remove from pot and keep warm. Turn up heat a bit and reduce the pot liquids until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

7. Eat!
We served these over mashed potatoes because I wanted more of a meal, and who am I kidding, I have an affinity for mashed spuds.


  1. Speak for yourself sis! I have plenty of teams that I route for! :) UT (As in University of Texas...the only real UT), The University of Georgia, the Braves, & the Falcons....just to name a few. Of course I alway cheer for any Texas team as well.

  2. okay, well, we never cheered for anyone as kids is what I meant. I cheer for UT also, but yes, you are more of a sports fan and could easily school me on football rules and regs!