This is a monumental day of celebration for me. First of all it is my birthday and a milestone one at that. In addition it is the first anniversary of “Queen Jeannes Cuisine.” I cannot believe it has been that long but last year on my birthday I published my first post. It has been quite a year. Many blessings have come my way as well as some difficult challenges but I am fortunate to be healthy and happy and I have to thank you for your support and good will. The blog has proven to be very fun and getting a chance to interact with all of you brings me great joy. I truly hope you have loved reading it as much as I have loved writing it. Let’s make a toast to sharing more Recipes, Rants and Reviews.
I cannot let the day go by without sharing some food knowledge and a recipe. As you know cooking is my passion so of course I always indulge myself on my birthday. Today we are discussing braising, a cooking method by which food is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid for a lengthy period of time. I absolutely love this method of low and slow cooking as it develops deep flavors and tenderizes foods by gently breaking down the fibers. This can be accomplished on top of the stove or in the oven. I prefer the later, as things seem to cook more evenly. The two secrets of successful braising are a tight-fitting lid to prevent the liquid from evaporating and of course the liquid itself. Great seasoning makes for fabulous food. It is a perfect solution for cooking cheaper, tougher cuts of meat and your house smells so terrific you will be salivating throughout the process. If you live in close proximity to others, you just might have unexpected guests for dinner. No one can resist the aroma. Guaranteed!
We are cooking short ribs today but the principles of braising are the same regardless of what you are preparing. It goes down like this.
JEANNE’S BRAISED SHORT RIBS Serves 4-6
4 lb. bone-in beef short ribs
¼ c extra-virgin olive oil + more to coat pan
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 carrots, peeled and cut ½ – inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into ½ – inch pieces
1 onion, peeled, roughly chopped
2T tomato paste
1 (14 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand with their juices
1c chicken stock + more if needed
1 bundle fresh herbs; thyme, rosemary, oregano and 2 bay leaves, tied
Gremolata for serving: Leaves from one bunch of parsley, chopped, zest of two lemons, 1t horseradish. Mix well.
- In a large heavy pot, heat the oil until very hot. Season the ribs generously with salt and pepper. Brown well on all sides in hot oil, working in batches so as not to crowd. Remove meat to platter and pour off all the fat. Replace with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and season with salt. Cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook until darkened a bit. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan scraping the brown bits from the bottom. Add tomatoes with juice, chicken stock and herb bundle. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the browned short ribs, cover and place in oven for 2 ½ -3 hours. Check after each hour and add additional stock if needed. Turn ribs half way through. Remove lid for last 20 minutes of cooking. Meat should be very tender and fall off the bone. Skim off any excess fat. Serve over egg noodles with some of the braising liquid. Top with a spoon full of gremolata.
Fork tender, fall off the bone is the result you strive to achieve. It is so delightful to eat these tender morsels and the developed flavor is so seductive and satisfying. I serve this over egg noodles as the braising liquid makes a mouth-watering sauce and you need something to soak it up. If you like, you could substitute potatoes, rice or polenta. Whatever you decide, just don’t waste a drop of that sauce. The flavor that develops will knock your socks off.
This method is one you must have in your cooking repertoire. Yes it does take time so it probably isn’t for everyday but it is the perfect thing for those days when you are home and can spare a few hours. Once the prep is done, it takes care of itself so I think it makes for great dinner party dishes. You can go along and fix the apps and dessert while the main course, often a one pot meal, does it thing. You are going to love it and others will boost you to Cooking Hall of Fame status. Let me know what your favorite braised dishes are. I can’t wait to try them.
Here’s to exciting eating experiences in the upcoming year. Sending love and good eats your way. To good health and great food, SALUTE!