The key to developing the deep, rich flavor of these short ribs is in the browning. First, the short ribs themselves are seared to develop a caramelized crust, then the vegetable mixture in turn becomes deeply browned in the pot, and finally, a healthy pile of tomato paste comes in for a browning session. . The result is layers of flavor that infuse each piece of the tender short ribs. Serving this super hearty dish with horseradish-flavoured mashed potatoes helps liven things up and adds a wonderfully creamy complement to the beef. Tangy, spicy and creamy purees for the win!
Technical tip: Taste the water to make sure it is well seasoned. The water should taste like the ocean; it will probably contain more salt than you think. Salting the water enough is the key to a good grinder!
For the short ribs:
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Season each end of the rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to hold all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown well, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan; cook in batches, if necessary.
While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until they form a coarse paste. When the short ribs are nicely browned on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of the same pan with fresh oil and add the vegetable purée. Generously season the vegetables with salt and sauté until very dark and a gunk has formed on the bottom of the pan, about 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape off the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato puree for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.
Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups of water or until the water has just covered the meat. Add the bunch of thyme and bay leaves. Cover the dish and put in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if necessary. Flip the ribs halfway through cooking. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let everything brown and reduce the sauce. Once cooked, the meat should be very tender but not fall apart. Serve with the braising liquid.
For the sour cream and horseradish masher:
Place potatoes in a large, wide pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Season the water with salt. Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to low. Let potatoes cool until tender when pierced with a fork. Probably around 20-25 minutes.
When the potatoes are cooked through, drain the water and shake off the excess water. Return them to the pot they came from.
Heat the cream (it is very important that the cream is hot).
Mash or whisk the potatoes with a hand mixer. Time is of the essence here: potatoes need to be whisked or mashed while they’re hot or they’ll get rubbery. Add 2 knobs of butter and half of the hot cream to the potatoes and mash or beat them into the potatoes. Repeat this operation with the rest of the butter and cream. Beat sour cream and horseradish. Taste to make sure the potatoes are delicious. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Serve immediately or cover and keep warm in a low oven.