I love short-ribs, but they are rarely cooked properly. There are few cuts of meat from a range-fed cow that taste as satisfying as short-ribs, but so few are cooked properly that I have finally given up ordering short ribs at a restaurant.
Now that Mamacita has retired (Editor’s Note: Therese doesn’t like her new name and isn’t into retirement either), she has had a bit more of an opportunity to consult her cookbooks to feed her hobbling patient. I feel that a slow recovery is required to help Mamacita “get her domestic game back.” (Editor’s Note: This comment was not intended to be sexist, but simply to highlight Mamacita’s great versatility).
This delicious recipe comes from Marcella Hazan’s More Classic Italian Cooking, published in 1978. The recipe, Brasato di Manzo con Sedano e Cipolle, actually calls for boneless beef such as chuck or bottom round. Mamacita wisely opted for two or three lean pieces of boneless short ribs, which we then cut into rather large pieces that we could quickly brown in a stew pot. I have found that braising meats such as short ribs for a long period of time breaks down the tough fibers of the meat and the vegetables add to the earthy taste profile of the finished dish. Found below is Marcella’s Beef Braised with Celery and Onions in which we have substituted short ribs:
Braised Short Ribs with Celery and Onions
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 4 or 5 large, meaty celery stalks
- 1 dozen small white onions
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 2 pounds of lean boneless short ribs
- 2 Tbs of olive oil
- 2 Tbs of butter
- 1 1/2 cups of dry red wine
- 1/2 cup of beef broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Strip the celery stalks of their strings, breaking off a small piece of stalk and pulling it down, or by using a vegetable peeler. Cut into stalks about 3 inches long and rinse in cold water.
- Peel the onions and cut a cross in the root of each one to allow them to cook more evenly (we substituted frozen small onions to save time).
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Brown the meat on all sides in the vegetable oil.
- Choose a flameproof casserole with a tight fitting cover (we added a layer of aluminum foil) that is just large enough to accommodate the meat snugly. Add the olive oil, butter, celery, onions and the browned meat.
- Tip the pan in which you browned the meat and draw off the excess fat with a spoon. Put the red wine into pan and turn the heat to high to deglaze. Pour the contents of the pan into the casserole holding the meat and vegetables.
- Add the broth to the casserole, together with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Place the casserole – uncovered – on a burner and bring the liquid to a simmer. Then cover tightly and place on the uppermost level of the preheated oven.
- Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the meat is very tender.
- Serve the beef and vegetables immediately (if necessary cut the meat into smaller pieces) and pour any excess liquid over the stew.
Enjoy. Can be done beforehand and reheated.