Just about the only cut of meat I haven’t cooked was short ribs. (That’s a complete untruth, there are many, many cuts of meat I haven’t cooked yet but slow-cooked ribs is the one that I fancied most).
As we got our first frost of the winter today I thought I would celebrate by writing up this bad boy from a week or so ago.
One moment please, I’m just going outside to shoot the annoying person setting off some fireworks…
…okay he isn’t going to be doing that anymore. Back to the frost scenario. This year Autumn (or ‘fall’ as some say) has been the warmest ever (some bright spark could probably bore us to death with meteorological statistics saying it was warmer in 1934, but I don’t care, it was warm, like 25 centigrade in October warm).
And you know, things go a bit weird when the weather does funny things in Britain. Wearing t-shirts and shorts in the last week of October just looks strange. Its not right.
So when it got a bit chilly a week or so ago I headed off to the local butchers (local as in 20 minutes drive) to get me some ribs. Now the butchers are usually a jovial pair, all ‘Sir’ and ‘Lovely cut that’ and all that crap. But that day they were not in a good mood.
‘Have you got any short ribs?’
‘Well we have ribs, pork or beef?’
‘Beef’ (How was I to know to make them short they just cut them down the middle)
Can you cut them down the middle?’
‘I can cut them anyway you want (slight pause) sir’.
‘Fine, do that’. I turned round, annoyed, and stared at some pickles, almost wanting to walk out but wanting those ribs more.
Anyway the old guy cheered up and started recommending all sorts of methods of preparation. But I wasn’t listening. I had spotted a small but very dark 42 day aged fillet steak. I chose that too, for another day…
Back home I put my plan into action. I intended marinading the ribs and then slow cooking them in wine. Lots of wine.
For Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potato you will need:
- 4 beef ribs, cut in two by the butcher, lengthways
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 1/2 bottle madeira
- a small pack lardons
- 2 bulbs garlic
- 1 pint beef stock
- 3 carrots
- 1 parsnip
- 2 onions
- 1 large bunch rosemary
- 5 egg whites
You have to prepare the ribs a day in advance. Take the two strips of ribs and put them in a container. Pour enough of the wine over them to just cover and then top up with a bit of the madeira.
Season with salt and pepper and then cover with cling film. Leave to marinade in the fridge for 24 hours or so.
The next day gather your ingredients:
Remove the ribs and retain the liquid. They look good enough to eat raw…
Cut each strip into 4. Take a casserole and fry the lardons until they release their salty fatty goodness. Pop the chopped vegetables in and gently cook until they go a bit soft. Add the short ribs. Stand them up in the pot, evenly spaced. Pour the marinade into the pot:
Add the stock and top with the rest of the wine and madeira:
Cover and cook in the oven at 150 centigrade for 3 hours. After 2 1/2 hours add the rosemary:
Remove the ribs with a large spoon. The meat may fall off the bone. If this happens then just put the bone in a dish and match up the relevant meaty bit by lying it on top.
Keep the ribs warm, covered with foil. Turn your attnetion to the sauce. Now ribs are fatty. And all that fat is in the liquid. I have tried many methods of removing the fat, and this is the quickest. Pour the contents of the casserole through a sieve into a large jug.
Put the jug in the freezer for an hour. Now look at all that solidified fat!
Remove with a metal spoon. Yukko…
Pour the liquid into a pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile make the mash. Easy.
Back to the sauce. Once the liquid has reduced by a half, reduce to a simmer. Add the egg whites:
Gently stir until they set and absorb some of the ‘impurities’.
A couple of minutes should do the trick.
Pass through a sieve and discard the egg white. Return the sauce to the pan and bring to boil again. Reduce to the consistency of your liking.
Pour half the sauce over the ribs and keep warm in the oven
Ready to serve! Place a large dollop of mash on a warmed plate…
Carefully place a big rib on top of the potato and let it sink in a bit…
Pour over some of the sauce and garnish with some flat-leaf parsley…
Verdict? Better than beef cheeks, better than oxtail. Delicious melt in the mouth yumbo!