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All About that Braise

January 28th, 2015 by Carrie

No treble (a.k.a – high temperature and fast) – low and slow is the temp and tone.  Yes, I’m a band geek and often play a game in my head when someone says a random phrase or word. I automatically think of a song with that word or phrase in it and begin singing.  Many of my culinary friends are musicians, artists or the creative type.  It makes sense because we love building or creating things.  This is why I love braising.  Not only do you have to use the proper technique, but you build layers of flavors and transform a tough cut of meat into something decadent and tender.

shortribsOn New Year’s Day, I was fortunate enough to have the chance to cook dinner for a couple of amazing friends.  I say fortunate, because rarely do I cook like this for myself.  Cue the short ribs!  Mmm…. one of my favorite scents in the kitchen is the smell of seared beef.  I automatically begin salivating every time I smell it. Pavlov or Olfactory bulb? Either way, it happens. I was having so much fun cooking that I forgot to take a lot of photos, but I got a few. I chose to make Horseradish and Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs, duck fat and herb roasted fingerling potatoes, broccoli and gougeres.

Horseradish and Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Yield: 6 servings

Active time: 45 minutes

Start to finish: 2 hours, 45 minutes

3 pounds boneless beef short ribs

Salt and pepper to taste

All-purpose flour for dredging

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 onions, large dice

1 carrot, large dice

2 stalks celery, large dice

3 cloves garlic, sliced

2 cups red wine

4 cups beef stock

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 bay leaf

A bundle of herbs including thyme and rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons cold butter

  • Season the ribs with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge them in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Heat a heavy French oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, sear the ribs on all sides until golden brown, and set aside. You will need to do this step in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan.

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  • Add the mire poix to the pan, and cook until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  • Deglaze the pan with the red wine, and reduce by half of its original volume.
  • Return the ribs to the pot, followed by the stock, horseradish, bay leaf and herb bundle. Season the braising liquid with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is falling off of the bones.
  • When the meat is tender, remove it from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Remove the bay leaf and herb bundle from the pot. Use a blender or hand emersion blender to puree the mire poix into the braising liquid.
  • Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan and return to a simmer. Skim any fat that rises to the surface of the sauce. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish the sauce by swirling in the cold butter.

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Treat yourself on the next cold winter day you have off by putting on some tunes, grabbing a glass of wine or in the words of the great Julia Child “just a little bit of brandy” and get braising. Or sign up for one of our classes like Braising Boot Camp on March 7th if you need help getting started. Either way, enjoy the process and the fruits of your labor!  Call me when dinner is ready, I’ll be right over.

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Carrie finally found her culinary niche as a Chef Instructor for The Chopping Block in May 2008, but only after a hilariously traumatic demonstration interview (of which you will have to attend one of her classes to hear about). She gets a thrill of sharing the things she’s learned about food and cooking with others and the memories and experiences around food that have made her who she is today. Her hope is to take away the apprehension people have of cooking by pouring on her southern hospitality and charm and having fun in the kitchen. When she isn’t cooking, you can usually find her at a concert, a neighborhood restaurant or just hanging out with friends and enjoying their company.

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