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March 27, 2017
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Comforting Braised SHORT RIBS---YUM!
        ASPARAGUS AND EARLY SPRING PEAS MAY HAVE ARRIVED AT MY HEALTH FOOD STORE, But I'm SO COLD, I can't even think about them. The calendar says IT’S SPRING! But YOU COULD HAVE FOOLED ME. The thermometer has plunged into the single digits again, leaving my fingers frozen to the bone, and I’m still staring down over 2 feet of the white stuff in my backyard. Spring is nowhere in sight.
        As a result, I ONLY WANT TO COOK UP WARM AND COZY. And slow braised short ribs sound like just the ticket. I had planned to make these during the CRIPPLING BLIZZARD! last week, but my "dependable" generator   LET ME DOWN, leaving me with no oven. That was more than a bummer. Now, another deep freeze is here, and OPPORTUNITY HAS KNOCKED at my door AGAIN.
        Short ribs may sound intimidating, but they’re not. THIS IS AN EASY RECIPE. They’re fall off the bone tender, sweetened with carrots, onion, garlic and red wine. There’s even a touch of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar just to sweeten the deal slightly. They do take some time to prep on the stove. But once that’s done, THEY HAPPILY BRAISE IN THE OVEN ALL BY THEMSELVES filling your kitchen with this amazing aroma.
        Served over a mound of creamy mashed potatoes or polenta, you’ll have A MEAL WORTHY OF COZYING UP TO, that will warm and sooth your soul as well as your tummy. This is just me, but I don’t like leaving the house with oven running. Since there’s 3 hours where the oven will be doing the rest of the work, maybe that’s a good time to do some spring cleaning? OR NOT.

LESSONS Learned:
1. Have the butcher trim the fat off of the meat for you.
2. Make sure the ribs don’t touch when you sear them. That way they'll brown and not steam.
3. Once you add the ribs to the pot, leave them alone! When they’re ready they’ll release more easily for you.
4. Definitely take the time to tie the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf together so that it’s easy to fish them out at the end.
5. Depending on the cooking time, you may want to reduce the sauce alittle more. That’s up to you.
6. This can easily be doubled, just brown the meat in 2 batches.

Comforting Braised SHORT RIBS

4 six oz. bone-in beef short ribs, about 1 ½-2 pounds, trimmed of fat
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into medium dice, about 1 ½ cups
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2“ rounds, about ¾ cup
2 stalks celery, cut into medium dice, about ¾ cup
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups red wine, 1/2 of a 750ml bottle (Cabernet Sauvignon or Burgundy)
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 ½ Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2-2 1/2 cups low sodium beef stock
finely minced fresh parsley for garnish

Make the short ribs:
        Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Season the short ribs liberally with salt , and let rest at room temperature while you prep the rest of vegetables.
        Heat a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add one Tablespoon of the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the ribs, not touching each other, and sear on all sides, until brown and crusty, 10-12 minutes in total. Transfer the ribs to a plate to rest.
        If needed, drain off all but 2 Tablespoons of the oil, and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic with a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute the vegetables until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
        Reduce the heat to low, and slide the vegetables to one side. Add the tomato paste, stirring until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the red wine, and raise the heat to medium and reduce the wine to about ½.
        Stir in the salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Tie the rosemary and thyme sprigs together with kitchen string, and add to the pot with the bay leaf.
Nestle the ribs back in the pot. Pour in the beef stock to almost cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Braise the short ribs until they're very tender and falling off the bone, about 3 hours. Check about 2 ½ hours in.
        If the sauce is thinner than you may like, carefully remove the ribs to a platter and place the pot back on the stovetop. Over medium heat, reduce the sauce until slightly thickened. Add the ribs back into the pot to warm. Remove the herb bundle and the bay leaf before serving.
        Yummy over mashed potatoes, wide egg noodles or polenta.

Makes 3-4 servings.    YUM!
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