Saturday dinner: Short ribs provencal

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If the world were a right and just place, I would have time to cook more food by braising. You draw out so much flavor from the meat when it cooks slowly for hours in a low heat oven. Fat melts into flavor. Marrow melts into sauce. It’s quite beautiful.

I like braising short ribs on a cold night. It has that hearty, comfort food feel that warms you from the inside. We’ve certainly had colder days this winter (hell, we’ve had colder days this week) than Saturday, but it would have to do. Short ribs are like ice cream: when I get it into my head that I want to eat them, it’s best to just appease me. Otherwise, I become a miserable and grumpy little bitch.

IMG_1583Serious Eats’ Eat For Eight Bucks feature offered a different take on the wine-broth-meat presentation, namely the introduction of olives and more herbs. Let’s face it, I would have used herbes de provence anyhow. But, the tang of the olives complemented the creamy sauce nicely.

For a side, I went with fried polenta. You want something dense like this to hold the weight of the sauce.

IMG_1586WHAT WORKED: I was pleasantly surprised by the addition of olives to this, as previously mentioned.

WHAT DIDN’T: I actually doubled the wine and broth and still felt that there was not enough liquid in the pan.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “Layla. Something smells good, but I don’t think Daddy is going to tell me what it is.”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Almost certainly. I need to figure out exactly how much liquid I need, so I’m not done here yet.

IMG_1587Short Ribs Provencal
Adapted with love from Serious Eats

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. short ribs, cut into 2 pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. herbes de provence
3/4 cup red wine JP: I went with 1 1/2 cups
1 cup beef stock JP: I went with 2 cups
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup pitted Nicoise olives
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

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Position a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 300°F. Heat olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Brown short ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and carrots. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in herbs, red wine, stock, tomatoes, salt, and bay leaf and return heat to high. Bring to simmer, cover, and bake in oven about 2 1/2 hours, until very tender, turning short ribs over halfway through cooking.

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Remove pot from oven and spoon off excess fat from surface. Carefully remove short ribs to plate. Discard bay leaf and bring sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce until liquids thicken and reduce by one third, about 8 minutes. Off heat, stir in olives and taste for seasoning. Return short ribs to pot and heat through. To serve, divide the short ribs between two plates, ladle sauce over top, garnish with parsley (if using), and serve with crusty French bread.

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2 thoughts on “Saturday dinner: Short ribs provencal”

  1. This looks and sounds great, I’m going to have to give it a go. I’m not someone that enjoys “Nouvelle cuisine”, I’d rather a meal that takes a lot more of its heritage from simpler (though none less good tasting) “country fare” – much like these short ribs. Even better when cooked ‘low and slow’, it’s like putting a magnifying glass on the flavor.

    I’d have never thought of the polenta as a side – honestly I think I’ve had polenta a grand total of once in my life at the Fenocchis – will have to give it a try as well.

  2. Right, right and right. Check out the other short ribs recipe that I linked to in the recipe. It’s my standby for braising. I just wanted something different and this was just enough.

    We never ate polenta with the Fenocchis, Mancinis or Paventis. That was something I ate more after I started dating The Wife. Basically, it’s an Italian-style of cornbread.

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