Who doesn’t look forward to a day off…or at least a day with nothing to worry about and no reason to rush out of the house? Especially with the cooler nights approaching, today is the perfect day for braising. The best part is that one does not necessarily need the luxury of a full day of vacation to put a gorgeous braised short rib on the table.
Braising is one of the easiest preparations to master. With relatively few ingredients and little preparation, the meat practically cooks itself without even having to open the oven door. And after four to six hours, you have a rich, restaurant-worthy dish to proudly present to family or friends.
Chef Rene Chauvin, whose career in some of Canada’s top kitchens spans over 20 years, and who is now chef professor at Centennial College, shares his secrets to an absolutely stellar braised beef chuck rib.
Basic Red Wine Braised Beef Chuck Rib
* 2 x 2.5 lb Beef Chuck Rib, (ask the butcher to “French,” or clean, the bones) and cut into two rib portions.
* 3 carrots, roughly cut
* 3 stalks celery, roughly cut
* 1 onion, roughly cut
* 3 shallots, halved
* 1 clove garlic
* ½ bunch fresh thyme
* 1 bottle Barolo or Merlot
* 2-3 Litres beef, chicken, or veal stock, (if no stock is available, use water)
* Kosher salt and whole black peppercorns
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. In a small sauce pan, slightly toast the black peppercorns. This releases the oils in the peppercorns and mellows the flavor. Crack the peppercorns with a peppermill if available, or smash with the bottom of a heavy bottomed pan or bowl.
3. Set stock or water on the stove to heat.
4. Trim excess fat from ribs. Heat a small amount of oil in a large roasting pan over medium. You will use one pan for the entire preparation, so make sure it is big enough to hold all of your ribs and has room enough to add lots of liquid.
5. Sear your ribs to create a brown crust. Sear one rack at a time in order to keep a nice, hot pan.
6. Remove ribs from pan and set aside. Pour out the beef fat, but reserve enough to slightly coat the bottom of the pan.
7. Add carrots, celery, onion and shallots to the hot pan and brown to caramelize, then dust lightly with flour, but do not burn (any black will make the ribs taste bitter.) Cook for a minute or two longer to slightly toast the flour.
8. Add about a cup of red wine (or more) to deglaze the pan and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon.
9. Replace the ribs in the pan with the vegetables and wine, and add enough warm stock/water to completely cover the ribs. Add sprigs of thyme. Cover securely with aluminum foil, then top with lid.
10. Cook in 250 degree oven for 4 to 6 hours. Do not peek.
Carefully remove ribs from braising liquid and keep warm. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a pan, and simmer on low, add more wine and reduce to half. Discard vegetables.
1. Lay ribs on plate and drizzle with sauce, or reheat ribs in sauce to serve.
2. Place on mashed potatoes seasoned with minced chives and butter.
This is a dish that can be made well ahead. Place ribs and liquid in an oven to table casserole and refrigerate up to two days. To serve, remove fat, and reheat in a slow oven.
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.