I have always wanted to cook short ribs, but for a number of reasons, I have never tried. They are expensive enough that if I really screwed them up, I would be wretched. I have also been pretty sure that they’d be too wierd for the kids. (Note to people with nonexistent or exceptionally game children: this potential aversion to eating strange foods is not in any way the result of my failure to introduce foods other than chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches. It is a form of subtle and vicious mind control practiced by the small and weak in order to control the large and powerful).
I have eaten short ribs in restaurants and at the odd dinner party for years and marveled at their flavor, texture and versatility, but not until my recent cooking renaissance did I decide to throw caution to the winds and try them at home. I have a little tweaking to do, but I am mostly pleased by the results of grabbing life by the short ribs. They were tender, the sauce was perfectly spiced (although I would make it hotter next time) and the brightness added by the cilantro and a bit of lime was money. The meat was too fatty for my taste, but I think I’ve found a solution to that problem for next time.
I served the ribs with grits, which proved excellent for soaking up the glorious sauce, and a Mexican salad which was a tarted-up version of one of my mother’s old standbys. Do try this at home.
Beef Short Ribs in Chipotle and Green Chile Sauce
(Adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook)
[Note: my adaptation makes this a two-day recipe. Plan to start the day or night before you want to eat this dish]
- 1 teaspoon salt
- i teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 8 3-inch-long meaty beef short ribs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 14-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
- 1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canned chopped chipotle chiles (I doubled this)
- 3 large, fresh Anaheim chiles stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-thick-rings
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
Mix salt and next four ingredients in bowl; all over short ribs. (If you want to get good coverage, plan to do this in two layers, sprinkling half of the spice mixture on a large side of 4 ribs at a time). Place ribs on a plate and cover; refrigerate at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add half of the ribs and brown on all sides, about 9 minutes; transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining ribs. reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to same pot; cover and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes, lime juice and chipotle chiles. Return ribs to pot, meaty side down, in a single layer. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until ribs are just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove pot from oven. Tilt pot and spoon off fat. (I did not find this effective – keep reading for my alternative suggestion). place pot over medium heat and simmer uncovered until sauce coats spoon and ribs are very tender, about 25 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. (Okay, this is where my genius idea comes in: at this point, I would refrigerate the meat and sauce overnight so that the fat solidified and I could easily remove it all before proceeding. I found that attempting to de-fat as the recipe suggests caused me to remove some of thge broth mixture, but not all of the fat, which left me with not enough sauce and too much grease in the sauce I had left).
(Remove pot from refrigerator) and bring to a simmer over medium heat; add chile rings. Simmer until chiles soften, about 10 minutes. Transfer ribs and sauce to large bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro; garnish with lime wedges and serve.
For Your Beasts
Our dogs got the bones from the short ribs, and enjoyed them tremendously. I don’t think they are dangerous and splinter-y; if you know otherwise, please let me know before I do this again!
I started to follow a recipe for this salad before realizing that it was one of my mom’s standards. Here’s how we do it:
- 1 head red leaf lettuce (or any leaf lettuce
- 1/2 red onion cut in half and sliced into thin rings
- 2 seedless oranges or tangerines, peeled and sectioned (if using oranges, cut sections in half)
- 1 avocado peeled and cut into slices or cubes
- red wine vinaigrette
Place first four items in a salad bowl. Dress to taste, toss and serve.