Saturday, January 26, 2008

Braised short ribs with root vegetable puree

This is a great winter meal that, while time consuming, isn't all that technical.

-short ribs (~2-2.5 lbs)
-chicken broth/stock (~1 cup)
-red wine (~2 cups)
-2-3 carrots
-1 onion
-2-3 sticks celery
-2-3 parsnips
-1 potato
-1 celeriac
-1 large turnip

To make the short ribs, season them with salt and pepper and sear on high heat for a few minutes in a dutch oven or some other really heavy pot. Once a nice crust is formed on the surface, remove them, drain most of the fat, and in the same pot cook a mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery). I also add garlic and parsnips. Cook this for a few minutes (5-10) over medium heat. Add about two tablespoons of flour and, if available, toss in a few scoops of tomato paste. Return the short ribs to the pot, add some chicken broth and red wine in about a 1 to 2 ratio. Add enough liquid so that it comes about half way up the short ribs. It's a braise, not a stew, so you don't want it completely covered. Throw in a bay leaf, cover the pot and turn the heat to low or place it in a 200-250F oven. Let it braise for about 2-3 hours.

For the root vegetable puree, throw in whatever you like. I used a combination of potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip, and celeriac. Peel and quarter everything and place in a large pot of water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. A few minutes after the water boils, begin checking the root vegetables. When a knife slides in easily, it's done. You will be able to mash the potatoes, but you'll need a blender or food processor for the other less starchy roots. Mix everything together and add butter, salt, pepper, and thyme to taste. You can keep this warm in the oven if you finish ahead of time.

Once the short ribs are done cooking, set them aside in a separate bowl, strain out all of the braising vegetables, and reduce the braising liquid over high heat. Eventually, the liquid will reduce to a nice thick consistency. At this point, return the short ribs to the pot and turn until covered. Serve over the root vegetable puree with the remaining sauce.

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