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Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Who doesn’t love the culinary genius that is Thomas Keller? His famed French Laundry restaurant in California’s Napa Valley has long been a bucket list experience for sixth generation James Thomson, Hamish’s son.

This delicious recipe for red wine braised short ribs is an adaption from an original Thomas Keller recipe, one that James Thomson has refined over the years. It takes a little time to prepare this meal, but if you are looking for the perfect accompaniment for a Best’s Bin No. 0 Shiraz, this is the dish!

Thomas Keller's Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Red Wine Marinade Ingredients

1 bottle of Bests Bin 0. Shiraz (or Bin No 1 if you prefer)
75 grams carrots, cut into a 2cm dice
75 grams leeks, cut into 2cm dice
75 grams onions, cut into a 2cm dice
3 garlic cloves, smashed

Bouquet Garni Ingredients, makes one
10 Italian parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf

First bring the red wine to a simmer in a saucepot over low heat. Add the mirepoix marinade and bouquet garni. Use a blowtorch to burn off the alcohol. (If you don’t have access to a blowtorch, you can use a barbecue lighter as an alternative.) Continue to simmer the marinade until the flame from the alcohol goes out; continue until you no longer smell the hot alcohol aroma. Turn off the heat and transfer the marinade to a container lined with a sealable plastic bag and chill completely.

The Main Dish – the ingredients

6 pieces boneless short ribs,  each 210 grams per portion
Canola oil, for browning meat
Kosher salt
All-purpose flour
700 grams roasted veal stock
700 grams light chicken stock
Freshly cracked pepper
Chives, for garnish

Day 1:
Trim the excess fat from the meat and cut each piece against the grain into approximately six 200-210 gram portions. If you have small boneless short ribs, there is no need to split them in half. Reserve any trimmings to make ground beef. Place the meat in the plastic bag-lined container with the chilled marinade and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours.

Day 2:
Preheat the oven to 135°C. Remove the meat and the bouquet garni from the marinade. Transfer the marinade (including the mirepoix) into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Clarify the liquid by skimming off the impurities that rise to the top. When thoroughly clarified, the marinade will return to the vibrant colour of the wine. Remove from heat.

Heat ¼ inch of canola oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Season both sides of each piece of meat with salt and dredge in flour, patting off the excess. When the oil is shimmering, add the meat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides. Because of the red wine, when the meat is properly browned it will be dark brown with a purple tint rather the golden brown we’re most familiar with. After all sides have browned, transfer the short ribs to a paper towel–lined rack.

Pour off the excess oil from the pan, leaving the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan for deglazing. Return to heat and add the clarified marinade. Add the short ribs, veal stock, light chicken stock, and bouquet garni. The meat should be covered with liquid; if it’s not, add more veal and chicken stock as necessary.

Bring the liquid to a simmer on the stove. Cover the sauce pan with a cartouche—note: a cartouche is a parchment paper lid with a hole in the middle. Transfer the short ribs to the oven, and braise for about 3 hours, or until the meat is so tender that a cake tester slides right through, as if it were butter. (Note that you should use the cake tester to determine doneness, the time is only a guideline.) Transfer the meat to a ceramic baking dish and carefully pour the cooking liquid over the meat.

Cover with the cartouche and let cool; then cover with plastic wrap and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.

Day 3:
Remove the meat from the baking dish and transfer the remaining braising liquid to a saucepot. Bring to a simmer. Strain the liquid through a chinois or sieve, tapping the edge with a spoon to help the liquid through. Discard the remnants of the mirepoix. Place the meat into a sauté pan. Add a third of the strained braising liquid and add enough light chicken stock to slightly reduce the viscosity, starting with a couple of ounces. Bring the liquid to a simmer, basting the meat and allowing the sauce to glaze it, which will bring the the liquid down to a sauce consistency. Finish the sauce with butter for a velvety texture.

Creamy Polenta

700 grams chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
10 grams kosher salt
300 grams polenta
300 grams whole milk
150 grams unsalted butter, cubed
Extra-virgin olive oil, to finish

Start by combining the stock, garlic, and kosher salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour in the polenta in a stream and cook over low heat. You will need to whisk the polenta often. Cook the polenta for 17 to 20 minutes. The moisture must evaporate, until the polenta is quite dry and coats the bottom of the pan because it will be replaced with fat; otherwise, the texture could be gummy. Meanwhile, warm the milk in a small saucepan. Next, increase the heat under the polenta to medium and stir in butter. You will add the milk about one quarter at a time, which will let the polenta absorb before adding more. Season to taste with kosher salt if needed. Adjust butter as needed.

Spoon the polenta into your serving dish, top with the red wine braised short ribs, and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper, parmesan cheese and chives. Serve asparagus on the side.

Sauteed Asparagus

1 asparagus bunch
Flaky salt, for garnish
Olive oil, for garnish

Place enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and heat to medium high heat. While the pan is heating, grab the asparagus and remove the woody ends, you can use knife and guesstimate or snap the ends off, holding the asparagus firmly in the middle. Place the asparagus in the pan and be careful when doing so as the oil can spit. Next salt the asparagus to your desired level and don’t be afraid to taste as you go. Saute the asparagus for approximately 3-5 minutes and serve on a separate dish. Garnish lightly with a drizzle of oil and some flaky salt.

Image Credit:  Town & Country Mag