I found this recipe in the March, 2006 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. I saved it right away - just loved the flavors: so different from my usual “American-style” method for shortribs. Turns out its author is Molly Stevens (a contributing editor to Fine Cooking), who went on the write the book “All About Braising” ((Norton) which has become a great resource for braising recipes of all kinds in the Food News office (this recipe, however, is not in the book).
In this recipe, the ribs are rubbed with a spice mixture a day ahead (they develop deep flavor, the rub acts just like a liquid marinade) then the meat is browned, and slowly cooked in a flavorful braising liquid. Finally, the glaze and sauce are prepared, the ribs are brushed with the glaze and broiled, then served with the sauce alongside. The recipe is not difficult, but like many slow-cooked recipes, it is a bit time-consuming. Any of the components, except, perhaps, the glazing of the ribs, can be done well in advance of serving time (flavors only get better on standing) - and the results, to my mind, are absolutely worth it!
COOK’S NOTE: Two “tips” especially valuable to this recipe are to use a pot no larger than it needs to be to contain the ribs and liquid - and to cover the ribs with parchment paper (as described in the recipe text) before placing their pot in the oven. The parchment will prevent excess condensation, and both tips will keep the flavors full-bodied and intense, rather than watered-down.
|SERVES 4 TO 6
| 4 to 5 pounds, meaty, bone-in beef short ribs
1 tablespoon, five-spice powder
2 teaspoons, kosher salt – more as needed
2 teaspoons, light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon, coriander seeds – toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon, cumin seeds – toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon, coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons, peanut oil
2 large, yellow onions – coarsely chopped
3 large, cloves garlic – smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons, coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1 12-ounce bottle large beer at room temperature (more if needed)
1 cup, homemade or canned beef or chicken broth (more if needed)
2 tablespoons, soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup, honey
2 tablespoons, fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons, ketchup
1 teaspoon, fish sauce (in the Asian aisle of the market)
To Brown and Cook the Ribs: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel, but don’t rub off the spices. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven (or other heavy pot with a lid) over medium heat until hot. Add only as many ribs as will fit without touching, and brown them, turning with tongs until nicely browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, and continue until all the ribs are browned.
Pour off and discard most of the fat from the pot. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and return the pot to medium heat. Add the onions, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and start to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Add the beer and bring to a full boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge any caramelized bits. Pour in the broth and soy sauce, return to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the bay leaf. Return the ribs to the pot, preferably in a single layer, along with any juices. The ribs should be at least three-quarters submerged in the liquid. If necessary, add a bit more beer or broth.
Crumple a large sheet of parchment and smooth it out again. Arrange it over the pot, pressing it down so it nearly touches the ribs, allowing any overhang to extend up and over the edges of the pot. Put the lid in place and transfer the pot to the oven. Braise, turning the ribs with tongs every 45 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender and pulling away from the bone, about 2 1/2 hours.
To Make the Glaze: While the ribs are braising, measure the honey in a 1-cup liquid measure, add the orange juice, ketchup, and fish sauce, and combine using a whisk or a fork. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the ribs (meaty side up) to a flame-proof gratin dish or a shallow baking pan that is large enough to accommodate the ribs in a single layer. Don’t worry if some bones slip out. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
To Make the Sauce: Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a 4-cup measuring cup, pressing gently on the solids with a spoon to extract the liquid. When the fat has risen to the top, tilt the cup so you can spoon off as much fat as you can. You should have about 1 cup of thin but flavorful sauce. If necessary, simmer the sauce in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the flavor is concentrated to your liking. Season to taste. Keep warm.
To Glaze the Ribs: Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Generously brush the honey-orange juice glaze on the tops of the ribs. Slide the ribs under the broiler and broil until the surface of the ribs develops a shiny, almost caramelized glaze and you can hear them sizzle, about 4 minutes.
Serve with the sauce on the side for dipping, or drizzle it over the ribs.