Short ribs are among the greatest things that the world has ever bestowed on us. Right along with water, dogs, opposable thumbs, and the Foo Fighters. They’re just these beautiful hunks of beef, held together by thin layers of fat that melt into the meat over many hours of simmering, which is usually done in the oven so you don’t have to hover over it and say WAIT IS THAT A SIMMER OR A BOIL LET ME TURN IT UP A SMIDGE OH MY GOD IT’S GOING TO BOIL OVER TURN IT DOWN WAIT IS THIS THING EVEN ON?!?!
I feel like I’ve made short ribs 8,000 times, every one of which was with red wine. So I was intrigued by a recipe that called for dried chile peppers. And it turned out extremely good, with a Mexican-ish taste because..well chile peppers are Mexican, so that makes all sorts of sense.
Making the marinade requires you to rehydrate the peppers, and then puree them in a blender. This is a tricky step, because if your lid isn’t on 100% tightly…this is going to be a mess pretty quickly. Have fun getting chile pepper stains off the walls/cabinets/ceiling. Your grandkids will be talking about the great chile disaster of 2017. Realtors will have to disclose this damage to anyone that ever wants to buy your house.
Usually I would sear the ribs before cooking them; this recipe did not call for that, and for some reason I think that actually works here. Knock yourself out if you want to pre-sear them, no one will call you stupid for it.
YOU CALL ME STUPID EVERY DAY!!
That’s because you deserve it.
WHATEVER! SO WHAT’S WITH THE FAT THING, AM I GOING TO GAIN LIKE 300 POUNDS FROM EATING THIS??
Unless you make 60 batches a day, no.
OK, I THINK I CAN KEEP MYSELF FROM DOING THAT!
As good as it is, make no mistake, this is not health food.
I’M NOT INTO HEALTH FOOD. I AM INTO CHAMPAGNE!!
Very nicely done, I have no comeback.
(Side note: the introductory skit with the Village People, as well as Rupert Holmes’ tucked-in powder blue jacket…it’s well worth a view)
Most of the ribs you get will probably have a thick layer of fat on them. Do not, under any circumstances, trim that off before cooking. That’s going to help protect the meat and keep it moist. After cooking, then trim it off, unless you’re a Neanderthal that just enjoys the taste of large globs of fat. Like me.
My preference with short ribs is always to cook everything over two days. Not straight through, but I cook everything on day one, separate the ribs from the sauce, refrigerate them, and warm them up the next day. Why, you ask? Because overnight, the fat will rise to the top of the sauce and solidify, and it will be the largest hunk of fat that you have ever seen. Like, at least 1/4 inch thick. And you will be in shock at the amount of fat in front of your eyes. And you will remove it from the top of the sauce, and take heart in the fact that your entire family would have died of a heart attack had you not undertaken this courageous act, and instead will enjoy a hearty, delicious, and merely somewhat unhealthy meal.
Now, once you remove the gargantuan layer of fat from it, you’ll notice that the sauce has a very jello-like consistency. And you’ll say, I made sauce, not fucking beef jello, what the hell?? Don’t worry, you’ve done everything just right. The gelatin texture comes from the collagen in the bones, which is a good thing. Why is it a good thing? Fuck, what am I made of, Googles? Anyways, when you reheat it, the sauce will return to liquid, so all will be well.
Chile Braised Short Ribs
Makes 8 servings
From Bon Appetit
8 dried New Mexico chiles
4 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
5 pounds short ribs
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
The day before serving, toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat, until lightly darkened on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and cool completely. Once cooled, remove the stems, remove the seeds and ribs, and tear them into small pieces. Then place the chiles in a large bowl, and add boiling water to cover. Let them sit until soft, about 20 minutes, and then drain the bowl.
Put the chiles in the blender, and add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, coriander, and cumin. Puree until everything is smooth.
Divide the short ribs and onions equally into two Ziploc bags. Pour half of the marinade into each bag, seal, and refrigerate overnight, turning the bags over once.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the contents of the bags into a large Dutch oven or stockpot, and add the broth. Bring the contents to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven, and cook for 2 hours.
Uncover the pot, and add the potatoes, carrots, and tomato paste. Stir to mix, re-cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about another 50-60 minutes. Remove the ribs and vegetables to a separate plate. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate separately overnight.
The day of serving, remove both the ribs/vegetables and the sauce from the refrigerator. Remove the disk of fat from the sauce. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan, and reheat the ribs/vegetables in a 350 degree F oven, or in a microwave. Plate the ribs and vegetables, and serve with the sauce over them.