The first time I had braised beef short ribs was in a barn! A barn in Tuscany that had been converted to a restaurant (although it still smelled of goat, which I found a bit charming to be honest). It was love at first bite. They were rich, flavorful, fatty and delicious!
For the life of me I can’t figure out how I missed this cut of meat prior to my amazing trip to Italy. Beef short ribs are available in my local grocery store (although not grass-fed, which is of utmost importance. I order them from my organics company), and yet somehow, I had never noticed them! Now, I almost always have a slab on hand in my freezer so that I can pull them out and cook them up whenever I have a hankering for something rich and slow-cooked.
When I had my first taste of short ribs they were served over fresh pasta, and appropriately so given that I was in Italy. Since then, I’ve also seen them served over mashed potatoes and rice. But I decided to go a different route. I went with a delicious roasted cauliflower and parsnip puree! For those of you that have never had parsnips before, they’re a white root vegetable and they sort of taste like spicy carrots. They’re delicious!
This dish also makes great company food! It’s elegant yet rustic, chic but not pretentious in the least. You can throw it together in about thirty minutes, let it simmer away on the stove, and flood your guests senses with the delicious aroma of a slow-cooked meal from the minute they walk in the door! This recipe is a MUST try. I promise you will love it! Here’s the Recipe:
Ingredients for the Short Ribs:
- 2 lbs grass fed beef short ribs
- 3 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 lb of carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 8 oz crimini or button mushrooms, quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp tomato paste (this is my favorite kind, or you can learn how to make your own here)
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cups dry red wine of your choice. I used a Merlot, but a Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti would work wonderfully
- 1/2 to 1 cup beef stock, or homemade chicken stock is fine too- whatever you’ve got on hand will do
- Sea salt and Pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Puree:
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- sea salt and pepper
- 1/2 to 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp butter (or more depending on how wild and crazy you feel)
If your short ribs come in a slab like mine did, you’ll need to cut them into chunks. Often they come already cut. Season them generously with salt and pepper.
Heat your ghee or coconut oil in a dutch oven (like this one) over high heat on the stove top. Brown the short ribs on each side- and I mean BROWN! Brown food tastes GOOD! They should look like this:
When the short ribs are browned on all sides, remove them from the pan and side aside. At this point, you should definitely have some brown goodies stuck to the bottom of your pan. That is MAJOR flavor! But you may also have some extra nasty fat that’s sort of blackish in your pan, and you’ll want to pour that off.
Return the dutch oven to medium heat, and add your onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan. Season generously with sea salt and pepper.
Saute the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the mushrooms to the pot.
Saute all of the vegetables for an additional 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir it around until all of the vegetables are well coated. Let the tomato paste and vegetables cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently so that the tomato paste browns but doesn’t burn.
Now you’re going to add the WINE! So remove the pan from the heat (NEVER add alcohol to a dish over a flame!) and pour the wine into the pot. Return the pot to high heat and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the yummy good brown bits on the bottom of the pot.
Let the wine continue to cook out and reduce over medium heat for an additional 5 minutes or so. In the mean time, make your herb bundle!
Add the browned beef short ribs back into the pot and nestle them in. Add the herb bundle to the pot, and add enough stock to come halfway up the meat! This is a braise, so you don’t want to cover the meat!
Bring the liquid up to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Add a bit more sea salt and pepper. Pop the lid on and let it simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
While your short ribs are cooking, prepare your puree. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lay the cauliflower and parsnip out on a sheet tray (you may need 2). Add a tbsp of ghee or coconut oil to each pan and season with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until the veggies are tender and golden brown.
Throw the veggies into a bowl and add some milk, starting with 1/2 cup and adding in until you achieve your desired consistency. I like mine pretty smooth. You can use a potato masher if you like, but I love to use my immersion blender (like this one). Puree until smooth (or lumpy if that’s what you like). Stir in a couple of tablespoons of butter. Taste and season with sea salt and pepper.
You will know your short ribs are finished because they will fall off the bone! Shred the short ribs and stir them into the stew. Taste again, and season with sea salt and pepper to taste. And for the love of all things decent and good in the world, PLEASE do NOT throw away the bones!!!!! They make a delicious and nutrient-dense stock.
Serve the braised short ribs and veggies over the puree. Enjoy!
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