Short Ribs Braised in Port and Wine
The ultimate meat and potatoes dish. The short ribs are slowly braised in wine sauce for full-bodied flavor, and become fall off the bone tender. They are served with mashed potatoes and make a hearty and satisfying meal.
24 beef short ribs (20-25 lb.), crosscut to include three bones, each 6- to 7-in. section tied horizontally and vertically to resemble a package
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil for sautéeing
Anchovies and chopped garlic, to taste
4 qt. small-dice mirepoix (2 parts yellow onion, 1 part each celery and carrot; turnip and celery root are good variations)
Fresh thyme and Italian parsley, hot red pepper flakes, and lemon zest, to taste
750 ml port (see note)
750 ml red wine (see note)
1 cup tomato paste or pureed dried tomatoes
Several bay leaves
Equal parts veal and chicken stock, for braising
1. Begin a full day before service. Season ribs with salt and pepper and thoroughly brown on all sides in a little oil. Remove to braising pans so ribs are touching, but not crowded.
2. Sauté anchovies and garlic in same sauté pan. Add mirepoix, herbs, hot pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Sweat briefly and deglaze with wines. Stir in tomatoes. Pour mixture over ribs and tuck in bay leaves. Add stock mixture just to level of rib tops.
3. Place in 400ºF oven; cook uncovered for 10 min. Cover and lower oven to 300ºF. Braise for at least 4 hours (often much longer), until meat is fork-tender yet holds firm. Remove, cool, and refrigerate overnight.
4. For service: Skim off congealed fat from liquid; remove rib packages and set aside. Strain liquid, reserving some for reheating ribs. Reduce the rest to consistency of thick sauce and set aside. Gently warm ribs, moistened with liquid and covered, in a slow oven.
5. Per order: Untie two rib packages; remove bones, fat, and connective tissue. Plate with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables, and nap with sauce.
Note: The better the quality of the port and wine, the better the sauce.