Now that the fall season has officially kicked off, it’s time to braise. After all, it’s the season for fleeces and woolens, lighting the fireplace and reaching for our Dutch ovens. It’s time for cozy warmth and slow-food days, with the aromas of meat and spices wafting through the house. It is intended for braises, stews and roasts, accompanied by soft purées and bubbling gratins. No matter what part of the country you live in or what the weather is like outside, fall is in the air – and on the menu.
Ribs are excellent for slow-cooked braises. The long cooking time provides flavor and boneless meat. Once cooked, reduce the drippings to get a thick, rich sauce that you can use to glaze the ribs and for serving. Ideally, take it even slower: prepare the ribs a day ahead and let the cooked ribs simmer in the braising liquid overnight. Not only does this allow the flavors to develop even more, but the next day the fat will have risen to the top and solidified, for easy removal and a clean sauce.
Braised and glazed short ribs
For 4 to 6 people
3½ to 4 pounds bone-in short ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces of tomato paste
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bottle (750 ml) full-bodied red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy ovenproof saucepan with lid over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the short ribs on all sides without overloading the pan and transfer to a plate.
Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add onion, carrot and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat, scraping up any brown bits, until the vegetables turn paler and begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika, cumin and coriander, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine, soy sauce, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Return the short ribs to the pot, plunging them into the liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off.
Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven.
(The ribs can be made ahead up to this point. Cool the ribs in the sauce and refrigerate overnight in the pan. The next day the fat will have risen to the top. Remove the fat and discard .
Gently reheat the pan on the stove to loosen the ribs from the broth and continue with the recipe.)
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Transfer short ribs to a roasting pan or baking dish.
Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until thickened and reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes, skimming off the top fat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
Brush the meat with the reduced sauce. Place roasting pan in oven and roast ribs until glazed and beginning to crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
Lynda Balslev is a San Francisco Bay Area cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe creator.