Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sisterhood is Powerful with Recipe for Wine and Garlic Braised Short Ribs (Μοσχάρι Κρασάτο με Σκόρδο)

Seattle was wonderful; it was sunny and warm (at least by this Alaskan’s definition). Birds were singing, flowers were blooming, and green was the dominant color outdoors.

Alaska, in contrast, remains white and brown. It’s a lot browner now than when I left. The snow berms lining the roads have begun to melt, exposing winter’s accumulation of dirt and debris.

Every day I was in Seattle, my sister and I took Josie and Rudy, her black labs, to the
dog park. Every breed of dog, from Mexican hairless to mutt, was there. Running and smelling and licking and chasing and swimming and fetching, the dogs were in their element. Just entering the park is enough to lighten one’s mood. The dogs’ unrestrained enthusiasm is infectious.

Of course, we also went ingredient shopping. My mother had sent a
newspaper story about Big John’s Pacific Food Importers, a Seattle wholesale/retail company that specializes in Mediterranean foods. Although Big John’s is a little tricky to find, it was worth the trip.

Big John’s has an exciting selection of ingredients at reasonable prices. For example, I bought a kilo of Italian salted capers for under $16 (in Alaska, a 3 ounce jar of salted capers costs nearly $10). Because I didn’t have much baggage space, I passed on buying olives, olive oils, or any of Big John’s 125 cheeses, opting instead for dried fava beans (koukia), harissa, shelled pistachios, herbs, and spices. I’ll definitely go back to Big John’s next time I’m in Seattle.

The best part of the trip was cooking with my sister. I’ve already written about our
Kale and Myzithra Crostini. Another evening we made Wine and Garlic Braised Short Ribs and thoroughly enjoyed its meltingly tender texture and rich sauce.

Wine and Garlic Braised Short RibsWine and Garlic Braised Short Ribs (Μοσχάρι Κρασάτο με Σκόρδο)
Serves 4
The wine is essential to the braising liquid's rich flavor, so be sure to use a bottle you'd be willing to drink. Better yet, buy two bottles of the same wine: one for the recipe and one for the table. I usually leave the cooked vegetables in the braising liquid when I serve this, and sometimes add 3 Tbsp. tomato paste along with the beef stock. For a more refined presentation, strain out the vegetables, pressing as much liquid out as is possible, and whisk in 2 Tbsp. cold butter after reducing the liquid and just before serving. Serve with
hilopites (egg noodles), mashed potatoes, or polenta.

2 1/2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs (or other stew meat), cut into 2” – 3” chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cups diced onion, 1/2” dice (1 large)
3/4 cup diced carrots, 1/2” dice (1 large)
3/4 cup diced celery, 1/2” dice (2 stalks)
2 large heads garlic, broken into cloves and peeled (2/3 cup)
750 ml. hearty red wine (1 bottle)
1 Tbsp. minced rosemary or 1 Tbsp. dried thyme, crushed
4 cups beef stock
1/4 cup minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Season the short ribs with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and brown the short ribs well on all sides. Don’t stint on browning the ribs, as doing so adds important flavor to the braise. Remove the ribs to a plate. Discard all but 2 Tbsp. of fat.

In the same pan, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, until the onions soften and start to turn golden. As the vegetables cook, use their moisture to help scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the wine, bring to a medium boil, and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Add the rosemary and beef stock and bring to a boil. Add the browned ribs and all of their juices to the pot. Cover and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the beef is very tender. (The recipe can be made ahead to this point.)

Remove the ribs to a plate. If you are making this ahead, refrigerate the braising liquid and ribs separately. Remove and discard as much fat as possible from the braising liquid. Bring the braising liquid to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer until the sauce is nearly the thickness you desire. Add the ribs and cook until they are heated through.

Sprinkle with the minced parsley and serve immediately.


This is my entry for St. Paddy's Day Pub Crawl 2008 hosted by Sugar Plum Sweets.


Anonymous said...

Mmmm, fall-off-the-bone meat swimming in a garlicky wine sauce -- love it!

I was convinced you were basking in the Med these last 3 weeks. Even not, I'm heartened to see you returned stocked with goodies for your wonderful recipes. (I always get caught short by the airlines' weight restrictions, too. That's why I prefer travelling with T. in tow, then I can fill his bags, too!)

Welcome back. You were missed!

Anonymous said...

Laurie, these look amazing! I love it when meats are cooked like this to enhance their taste and texture. Perfect cold weather fare.

Maria Verivaki said...

i have one sister, no brother - we are completely different from each other. as for her cooking skills, she's more than happy to provide the ingredients and someone else to do the rest!

Peter M said...

Laurie, it's good to have you back.

I can see that you and sis bonded in the kitchen and banged some great dishes like these short ribs...one of the most falvourful meats out there.

Thistlemoon said...

Welcome Back!

That market sounds great! I have yet to find a Mediterranean market here in Florida - although I hear there is an Italian market not too to far from here - so post weddng - we are taking a little trip!

Those short ribs sound wonderful! Some of my best memories are in the kitchen cookng with loved ones! :)

Anonymous said...

Add a bottle of wine? Now you're talking! ;)
Looks divine!

Cakelaw said...

Yum - I am seeing a lot of great ribs recipes lately, and this is right up there. BTW, I love dogs - they are joyous.

desie said...

i'm bookmarking this for the cold autumn nights coming my way. great recipe.

Unknown said...

Short ribs braised in wine sound really good!

Laurie Constantino said...

Manju, I wish that is where I was! Taking a travel partner for their baggage space is exactly right. It was so disappointing when their airlines reduced their weight limits several years ago - it really cut into my cooking supplies and wine selections. I'm definitely glad to be back.

Peter G, braising is one of my favorite forms of cooking. It infuses the meat with so much flavor.

Maria, lucky you like to cook!

Peter M, I really love cooking with my sister and playing off each other's ideas. Much better than solo cooking.

Jenn, thanks! A good way to find Med markets is to ask local restaurants who their wholesale supplier is - in my experiences, most wholesalers are happy to sell to individuals.

Maryann - exactly! How could anything taste bad that includes a bottle of wine?

Gaye, don't you think that meat on the bone tastes the best? Something I share in common with my doggy friends.

Maybahay, it's definitely cool weather food. It won't warm up a minute too soon for me.

And it is, Kevin!

Emily said...

I think Manju described it perfectly....Mmmm, fall-off-the-bone meat swimming in a garlicky wine sauce.
This sounds great entry! Great job!

Gretchen Noelle said...

This sounds delicious. I love beef slow cooked in wine and two heads of garlic to boot. How yummy!! I may have to try this one.

Ooohh, and that store sounds like a great find! I would love it, but I understand the whole luggage space thing!

Laurie Constantino said...

Thanks Emiline! Can't wait to read the rest of the recipes...

Gretchen, I feel like I live my life bumping up against luggage limits - and it's always caused by food! That's what happens to those of us who live far from major population centers...