Sharon and I are cooking from The Essential New York Times Cook Book. We pick a chapter each week and then we cook a different recipe from that chapter. Well so far they have been great. We are four for four. Sharon made the lamb shanks (which is very close to the recipe here under lamb) and she said it was great. I made those beautiful short ribs in the picture above.
When you start out with short ribs this thick and well marbled you know you are in for a treat.
The ribs are rubbed with cracked fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. They are browned on all sides and then put into a pot filled with orange scented broth, wine, and other aromatics. A slow braise in the oven produces a fall off the bone, melt in your mouth rib.
The recipe suggests cooking it a day before so the flavors will meld. I had planned on doing just that but after cooking this for a few hours and smelling it all afternoon I couldn't wait. Patience is not one of my virtues. When it was done I thought about putting it in the fridge for the next day but then what would I make for dinner tonight? Reservations never crossed my mind!?!
If you make this I do suggest making a day ahead. The flavors were even better the day after.
ORANGE-BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH FENNEL AND OREGANO
4 pounds beef short ribs (about 4" long)
1/2 cup cracked fennel seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 TBSP. vegetable oil
2 medium red onions, sliced into very thin rounds
1/4 cup minced garlic
1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 TBSP. whole-grained mustard
1/2 cup coarsely chopped oregano
Heat the oven to 350~. Rub the ribs on all sides with the fennel seeds and salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high until hot but not smoking. Add the ribs and brown well on all sides, 6-8 minutes per side. Remove the ribs and set aside.
Pour off all but about 2 TBSP. oil from the pot, and scoop out any remaining fennel seeds and discard. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until wilted and shiny, 7-9 minutes. add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the wine, broth, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar and bring just to a boil, stirring once or twice and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the ribs, along with the ketchup, mustard, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste, and return to a boil. Skim any scum from the surface.
Cover the pot, place in the oven, and cook for 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender ( when you try to pick up the ribs with a fork, they should slip off the fork). Remove the ribs from the pot, skim any fat off the sauce, and cook the sauce over high heat until slightly thickened. Skim again.
Return the ribs to the sauce and serve.
Cooking note- Consider cooking the short ribs a day before serving: the flavor will improve and you'll have a chance to lift off all the fat that will rise and harden on the surface of the sauce when chilled.
Recipe from The Essential New York Times Cook Book