It’s is one chilly weekend here in Toronto. Rainy and grey, forecasters say we’ll be lucky to see double digit temperatures.
Time to dig out the thick sweaters, Hunter boots, red wine and Dutch Ovens. This calls for comfort food.
Red Wine Braised Ribs
When we think comfort food, braised meats comes pretty close to the top of the list: slow cooked beef so soft and tender it falls apart when you spear it, puddles of savoury gravy running down peaks of rich mashed potatoes and sweetly roasted root vegetables. While we’re sad summer ended so quickly, the cold comfort is deep, dense and soul warming dinners.
Waiting for braised beef is the hardest part, as the recipe itself is about as easy as you can get – and since it cooks all in one pot, clean up’s a breeze. If you’re really on your game, make this the night before as it is better the next day … though we must confess we’ve never had the willpower to wait that long.
What You Need
- 3.5 pounds good-quality beef short ribs
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 750-ml bottle red wine (we used tempranillo, but whatever you have on had is fine)
- 6 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed
- 1 litre good-quality beef stock
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- .5 sprig fresh rosemary
- 5 sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 large dried bay leaves
- 3 Tbsp pork or bacon fat
- salt and pepper
How You Do It
- Melt bacon fat in a large Dutch Oven over medium heat
- Generously season ribs with salt and pepper
- When pot is hot, sear ribs on both sides until brown and crusty, about 4 minutes a side. You will more than likely have to do this is sections as you don’t want to over crowd the Dutch Oven – this will only steam the meat, not brown it, so have patience and don’t rush this part
- Remove meat from pot and put in a bowl to collect juices. Continue browning pieces until all meat is browned
- If any additional fat accumulated drain oil so there is only about 2 Tbsp left in the pot
- Add onion and cook for a few minutes until soft
- Add carrots and celery, cook until soft, maybe five minutes or so
- Mix tomato paste and flour (use a splash of wine if necessary) and add to the vegetables in the pot, stirring to coat
- Pour in red wine, the add short ribs and and accumulated juices to the vegetable mixture
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a gently bubbling simmer, cooking down wine until reduced by half and fairly thick
- Pre heat the oven to 350
- Add beef stock, fresh herbs, dried bay leaf and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil once more
- Place the lid on the Dutch Oven and place in the oven to cook for 2 hours
- When the beef has about 20 minutes left to go make mashed potatoes
- When the beef is done, remove from the oven and serve. If you feel the gravy is a bit too runny you can always bring back to a boil, with the lid off, and reduce for short time. However, if you are making in advance, know the gravy will naturally thicken once it’s cooled and in the fridge and reheated the next day
To reheat: heat the oven to 350 and place the Dutch Oven with the lid on back in the oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through
The Wine Sisters’ Wine Pairing
Featherstone Cabernet Franc, VQA Niagara Peninsula, 2012
$17.95 Vintages 64618
With sweet and sour fruit, smoke, and spice flavours, this medium bodied red is a favourites of ours.
How Did the Pairing Work?
Very good. But it’s also not going out on a limb to pair a bigger red wine with a rich red meat. Still, the wines tannins were softened and the berry notes enhanced by the dense and fulsome beef. The savoury herbs, while cooked down of course, also offered a nice compliment to the herbaceous wine.