As the weather changes, so does my appetite. The craving for comfort foods takes over my life and turns me into this crazed food zombie, on the hunt for some meatloaf and mash! Exaggerated much? But there’s nothing quite like turning a chunk of beef into a melty nugget of tenderness over a long period of time. Meats like brisket and pork butt, which can take up to 18 hours to cook properly, become amazing barbecue and roasts. I think it’s pretty cool that a chuck roast and a filet mignon can come from the same animal but taste so off-the-wall different.
One thing you’ll need to slow cook tough cuts of meat into a happy place is either a crock pot or a cast iron casserole dish. Cast iron has been around for years (300ish if your interested) and was a preferred cooking tool by settlers, cowboys and anyone else wandering around the prairies because of its ability to keep the heat. It’s tough too, and cowboys are tough. I just can’t picture John Wayne simmering his beans with a shiny All Clad.
I don’t own a crock pot and up until this blue-enameled cast iron bad boy was sent to me, all I had was a small heavy pot which was the perfect size to feed, umm, one very small cowboy, which in my home is not gonna fly. The pot is from the new Martha Stewart collection and has eight quarts worth of roasting real estate. That’s behemoth! (Don’t you love Thesaurus.com?) They also come in a bunch of different colors so chances are there’s one to fit your kitchen paint job.
I braised the short ribs for two hours in a bath of wine and broth. If I was a rib this is how I’d want to go out. The bones fell right from the meat when they were done and the smell was ludicrous. I strained the leftover liquid and reduced it a little for the sauce. Served alongside some heavily buttered mashed potatoes, this was classic comfort food! The casserole dish performed great, even through clean up which was a breeze considering it had just been in the oven for two hours.
Braised Short Ribs
- 2 pounds beef short ribs
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 of an onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 3 ribs celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic sliced thickly
- 3/4 bottle of Cabernet or any other dry red wine
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Place the casserole dish in the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil until just smoking. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and sear on top and bottom until brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Pour in the wine and rosemary, bring to a boil over a high heat. Take the casserole dish from the oven and place the ribs inside
- Pour the wine mixture over the ribs and add the chicken stock. Place the lid on top and put it into the oven.
- Cook for 1 1/2 hours and then turn each rib over. Cook for a further 30 minutes without the lid. Transfer the ribs to a plate and cover with foil. Strain the leftover liquid into a pan and reduce further until it thickens. Add a couple teaspoons of cornstarch/water mixture if you need it thickened faster.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and the sauce poured over the ribs. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.