I mean – does it get any more super-cozy-Sunday-dinner-vibes than this? No, certainly not. This is the kind of dish that you could falsely (but understandably) expect to be almost too rich – to the point where you crave a bit of acidity or zing just to help round everything out a bit more. Except this dish already has that base covered by including a bright, fresh herb mixture scattered on top, scented with citrusy notes of orange zest (with a fancy name too: ‘gremolata’). It’s those fresh bursts of gremolata that make you keep going back for one more pinch of meat from the bone, instead of making you groan in sheer over-indulgence.
BA’s Best: Red Wine Braised Short Ribs w/ Carrots
Taken from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
5 lb bone-in beef short ribs (English-style)¼ cup olive oil
4 oz (~20 thinly cut circles) pancetta, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 thyme sprigs
1 lb attractive-looking carrots, scrubbed, ends trimmed neatly, and halved lengthwise if thick
750 ml full-bodied red wine (how about this one?)
1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped, fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
¼ cup finely chopped, fresh chives
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
Plenty of kosher salt, for all along the way
Pat the ribs down with paper towels then season very generously with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking – keep monitoring the heat to stay in this sweet spot. Working in batches, sear the short ribs until browned on all sides, ~8-10 minutes per batch. Avoid overcrowding the pot as this will hamper the delicious browning process. Transfer the seared ribs to a plate. Pour the fat off from the pot, then give the bottom a quick wipe with paper towel to get out any darker bits. Add the pancetta and put the pot back on the heat. Cook the pancetta, stirring frequently, until rendered and slightly crispy. Add the onion, thyme, and carrots, then cook for another ~5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the wine and tomatoes then crank up the heat to bring everything to a boil. Place the short ribs snugly around the pot, so that as much of the meat is submerged as possible. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the short ribs are insanely tender and fall-apart, ~3 ½ - 4 hours.
Transfer the short ribs and carrots (carefully – try not to let the carrots entirely disintegrate) to a large platter or shallow bowl. If serving the same day, cover with foil and keep warm. I really prefer doing short ribs the day before, so I cool them first then cover them tightly and fridge up overnight. Regardless of your choice, go ahead and strain that deliciously fatty cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl and discard the solids.
· If using that day, return the strained liquid to the large pot and bring to a boil over high heat before reducing to medium and simmering until thickened by roughly half (~20 minutes). I do suggest that you try to make an effort to spoon off AS MUCH of the layer of fat that is coating the top of the cooking liquid as possible (again, this is so much easier to do if you are refrigerating it overnight).
· If using tomorrow, pour the strained liquid into a container and cover, refrigerating overnight. The next day, you should have a thick layer of congealed fat covering the jelly-ish cooking liquid. Carefully scrape off and discard that fat, then heat the cooking liquid in a large pot as directed above for the same-day instructions.
Regardless of whether you did a same-day or next-day version of this recipe, the short ribs and carrots can be returned to the cooking liquid once it has reduced enough (though the next-day cooks will want to first warm the ribs and carrots on a tray in a preheated 350 degree F oven while the sauce reduces to ensure that they are warmed through completely). Season the whole thing generously with salt and a bit of pepper. Taste it and keep adding salt if you think it needs more. Remember what a greedy little salt-piggy meat can be and don’t feel guilty about it.
While the liquid reduces and/or the short ribs are heating through, make the gremolata. Combine the parsley, chives, garlic, and orange zest in a small bowl and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer those juicy short ribs to a large platter and scatter the colourful gremolata overtop. Do a final dusting of flaky salt if desired (yes!) and serve piping hot with piles of carbs to soak up all those juices.