Still pretty cold out there folks.... times like these you crave one of those stick to your bone type meals. Well I've got the recipe for you, a revamped Italian staple:
BRASATO AL BAROLO
(Short Ribs braised in Red Wine and herbs)
It looks complicated and plates gorgeous .... but it is surprisingly easy to make! Just assemble and pop in the oven. While you are waiting you can run some errands .... or watch a few episodes of The Real Housewives of (Insert Obnoxious City Here) Marathon that runs on neverending loop on Bravo.
Now traditionally this recipe calls for beef chuck roast, which you can use of course, but I find short ribs a much tastier cut of meat when braised. Also adding a bit of Horseradish to the Gremolata topping... while not exactly 'Italian' adds a bit of kick to the beef. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4):
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 16-ounce beef short ribs (or mix of bigger an smaller ribs equal to 16 oz each person)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 16-ounce can of peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand with their juices (Italian San Marzano highly preferred)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
½ bunch thyme
½ bunch rosemary
½ bunch oregano
2 cups Barolo, or other full-bodied dry red wine such as Ripasso Valpolicella, Gigondas, Côtes du Rhône, or Zinfandel
* A HIGH QUALITY red wine is KEY to this dish. If you plan on using some 5 buck chuck from the supermarket you might as well scrap the whole recipe because it will taste beyond mediocre. The wine is the star of the dish. So step up and shell out for some good stuff ... but hey it's only 2 cups. You can drink and enjoy the rest!
For Horseradish Gremolata:
Leaves from 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
Zest of two large lemons
¼ pound fresh horseradish, grated
3/4 cup Quick Cooking Polenta
1/2 cup Marscapone Cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (grated or shreded)
1/2 stick of butter
2 1/4 cup water
Salt/Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Season the ribs with salt and pepper.
2. Cook them over high heat until deep brown all on sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove the short ribs to a plate and set aside.
3. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, oregano, and rosemary and sauté, stirring, untilgarlic begins to soften and turn golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes.
4. Add broth and bring to a simmer, then return meat along with any juices accumulated on plate to pot. (Making sure the ribs are covered in liquid). Cover pot with lid or heavy duty foil and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is very tender, 2 to 3 hours.
5. Meanwhile, while you are waiting grate the lemon zest and horseradish.
7. When ribs are done, take out of the oven and uncover. Transfer meat to cutting board/plate. Skim fat from the surface of the sauce. Then return pot to stovetop and boil sauce until reduced until about 1/3, about 5-10 minutes. Return meat to sauce to coat.
8. About 10 minutes before the ribs/sauce are ready. Boil the water for the polenta. When water comes to a rolling boil, lower heat and add polenta in a slow steady stream stirring constantly with wooden spoon until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Then add in cheeses and butter, and continue to stir.
* Note: If Polenta is made too early before plating it will thicken significantly as it cools.
9. Plate by dividing polenta into 4 plates. Top with 1-3 ribs (depending on size) and a scoop a ladelful of sauce. Top by sprinkling the Gremolata and drink with a glass of the same wine (preferably, or if not available an equally heavy bodied red). Voila!