Monday, April 30, 2012

Braised Short Ribs

(original recipe from Smitten Kitchen)


I served this the other night for my family. They loved it. My dad told me to add this to the list of "keepers." When I told him I'd already made it once before, he just repeated, "Add it to the list…" :)

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen-one of my all-time favorite food blogs. I've gotten so many recipes from her, and every single one that I've tried has been incredible, so definitely check out her blog! I've made some pretty significant changes, not because I didn't like her version, but simply out of necessity. I didn't have all the ingredients. And I wanted to add tomato paste. 

This is a really simple recipe. It takes a while to cook, but very little time to prepare. And the results make it totally worth it. 


Serves 4 to 6 people

6 beef short ribs
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 diced onion
1 large carrot, diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 Tablespoons of tomato paste (to taste. I basically just spoon it in until it's how I want it)


Directions: 

Season the short ribs with 1 Tablespoon thyme and cracked black pepper with hands. Coat well. These can be refrigerated overnight, but I usually do this right before I cook them. If you refrigerate them, let them sit out for 30 minutes before you want to cook them so they come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them on all sides with generous amounts of salt. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Next, heat a large Dutch oven over high heat for 3 minutes. Add in enough oil to brown your ribs, and wait until the pan is almost smoking. (I got a lot of comments from my family members about smoking up the entire house--woops!). Place the short ribs in the pan and sear until browned on the three meaty sides. Don't rush this process. Do it in batches if you need to-this can take between 15-45 minutes. For me it took about 25-30 minutes. When they are browned, set aside on a plate to rest. 



Turn heat to medium, add onion carrot, celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and stir with a wooden spoon. Make sure you scrape up all the crusty bits. Cook 6 to 8 minutes.



 When the vegetables begin to caramelize, add the balsamic vinegar and red wine. Turn heat to high and let the liquid reduce a little. Then add the stock and tomato paste. Stir it to make sure there aren't "chunks" of tomato paste floating around. Let it come to a boil. Next add the ribs, arranging them so they lie flat (bones up) in a single layer. The ribs should be almost submerged under the liquid. 



Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and secure the lid on top. Braise in the oven for about 2 hours (The original recipe says 3 hours, but I have found that they turn out perfectly in 2).

Use a paring knife to make sure the meat is done. The meat should yield easily. 
These are great served over mashed potatoes, and make sure you spoon lots of the sauce on top! Enjoy this little taste of heaven!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hello, people of the Internet. Seeing as this is my very first post, I thought I would explain a little bit about myself and the purpose of this blog.

I love food. Let's just make that very clear. My food must be delicious. I don't want to eat bland, tasteless meals, and I certainly have a sweet tooth. However, my love for tasty things has gotten me into trouble. You see, my body doesn't get along with certain food groups - specifically grains, dairy, and sugar. They cause all sorts of problems for me, including skin issues, a rumbling tummy, excessive cravings (for sweets, mostly), fatigue, headaches... You get the picture. Since eliminating grains, milk products, and processed sugar from my diet, I have experienced so much improvement that I never want to go back to my old way of eating. I won't lie, in the beginning it was incredibly difficult not to eat fresh, homemade bread and key lime pie and cookie dough and coffee ice cream and linguine with clam sauce. Yeah, those are all delish. But after some significant struggle and determination, I've come to realize that these limitations in my diet are really a blessing. The food I eat now is so healthy, fresh and really yummy! There are so many innovative ways to make great food (ever heard of cheesecake made with cashews?), and I would never have found some of my favorite recipes if I could still eat that old junk. Now I get to enjoy first rate, healthy food and share it with you!

Rarely do I follow a recipe exactly as it is written, so many of the ones you find here will have slight (or huge) changes from the original recipe. But no matter what, I will only post it if I believe it deserves to be shared. You won't find mediocre fare here, because I just won't settle for that.

Here's a sneak peak of what's to come!
                                           
                                           Braised Short Ribs