Tag Archives: red wine

Beef Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine

A much better sauce made from a reduction of the braising liquid

***UPDATE***

Third attempt – same sauce as second attempt (straining, skimming the fat and then reducing), over quinoa. Full disclosure – I served it with the smallest onions I had just so that there was *some* semblance of vegetables. And they were excellent ! Really brings out the sweetness of the onion. If you want to do this, then add the peeled onions to the mixture during the last hour of braising.

First attempt – beef short ribs braised in red wine on soft polenta

The picture above is my first attempt at beef short ribs. The second attempt was far far better. So much better, in fact, that as soon as they were out of the oven, they were eaten (ie before I could remember to take a photo – oops). But I will update this post again with the new (!) and improved (!!) version, as I want to share what I did differently, and why.

Beef short ribs are uh-mazing. I bought two large packs of Australian beef short ribs from the Barbie Girls, each containing three gorgeously meaty, English-cut ribs. Ribs need time to cook to break down the connective tissue to make them t-e-n-d-e-r, and both times the ribs were cooked with the same ingredients.

The first time I was so eager to eat, that I forgot that ribs are a fatty cut of meat, and a lot of that renders out during the long cooking process. The end result was beautifully tender meat, but in an overly oily and thin sauce.

The second time I made this dish, I spent the time and effort to strain the sauce, skim as much fat as possible, and reduce the sauce, before adding the ribs and the sauce back in the same pot, and putting them back in the oven for another hour. It’s a little more effort for a far superior end result, with a rich, gravy-like sauce coating the entire rib. Full of flavour without the oiliness from my first attempt.

I also served the ribs the first time, over soft polenta. Weirdly, unlike pork ribs, which I like to serve with something contrastingly crunchy and refreshing, like a fresh coleslaw, I want to eat beef ribs with a similarly soft texture. But I think the polenta, while texture-wise was perfect, was carb-heavy, leaving a feeling of being really very full (OK, perhaps that was also down to pure portion size). The second time, I served it with cauliflower cheese. Yes, it’s rich from the cheese, but I think it’s the lack of carbs in that pairing … that left us with space for dessert (because let’s face it, this dish isn’t for the faint-hearted or diet-conscious – it’s pure indulgence).

Looong story over. I’ll have to make it again just so I can update the photo with the improved recipe.

Beef short ribs braised in red wine

Ingredients:

  1. Beef short ribs – bone in – about 2.5kg
  2. 3 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  3. 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  4. 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
  5. Half a bottle of red wine – something heavier like a cabernet or even a shiraz I think works best
  6. 400ml beef stock
  7. *optional* Splash of brandy or port for a nice intense sweet undercurrent
  8. Sprig of rosemary
  9. Sprig of thyme
  10. 2 bay leaves

Method (the best way)

  1. In a large skillet, brown the ribs well – this will add depth of flavour from the caramelised sugars in the meat.
  2. In a large, heavy-based dutch oven or casserole dish, saute the onions, celery and carrot in some olive oil until soft
  3. Drain the oil from the skillet and transfer the meat to the dutch oven
  4. Add the wine, stock, brandy, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves to the pot. Ideally the ribs should be submerged in the liquid. Add additional stock or water if there isn’t enough
  5. Cover, and pop into your oven at 160C (320F) for 3 hours
  6. After 3 hours, take out the pot, take out the meat (it will already be tender and starting to fall off the bone) and carefully strain the liquid
  7. Discard what you’ve strained out – all those vegetables and herbs have imparted all their flavour in the sauce
  8. Return the liquid to the pot on high heat, and reduce by at least 30% – this will take about 20-30 minutes
  9. Pop the meat back in to the pot, cover, and return pot to the oven for another hour. There will be less liquid so the meat won’t be entirely covered, but don’t worry, the steam will help to cook any uncovered meat
  10. Serve with cauliflower cheese

Pappardelle with braised pork belly

A slight variation on my usual pork belly in red wine, this just takes a few hours on the stove. I finished the sauce with a few nobs of butter to give it a silky texture that coats the pappardelle.

Ingredients for two

  1. 200g pork belly
  2. 1 onion, finely diced
  3. 1 small carrot, finely diced
  4. 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  5. 1 tomato, roughly diced
  6. 2 glasses red wine
  7. 2 cups chicken stock
  8. fresh thyme
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. couple of nobs butter
  11. Pappardelle pasta

Method

  1. Brown all edges of the pork belly in a hot pan. You want to get the natural sugars in the meat caramelising. Remove from pan and set aside
  2. In the same pan, add some oil and gently sweat the onions, carrots and celery until they are tender
  3. Add the pork belly back into the pan along with the wine, tomato, herbs and enough chicken stock to just cover the meat
  4. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the temperature to a simmer. Let lightly bubble away for 2 hours. The liquid will reduce a bit so you may need to check now and then that the pork is still covered. I started to shred the pork after about an hour so that every bit of the pork gets to release its flavour, and also  take on the flavours in the pan. Season to taste
  5. After a couple of hours the liquid in the pan should have reduced by about a half and the pork tender enough to shred into meaty chunks.
  6. Cook pappardelle until just cooked in salted water. Reserve some of the cooking water before you drain the pasta – that starchy salty water helps to make the sauce loose and helps the pasta from sticking
  7. While the pasta is cooking, add a few nobs of cold butter to the sauce. It really gives another dimension to the sauce, making it silky and helping to coat the pasta
  8. Pop the pasta into the pan with the sauce, adding a few tablespoons of the cooking water to help the sauce really coat each ribbon of pasta
  9. Serve hot with a good handful of freshly grated parmesan

Pappardelle with braised pork belly in red wine

I spoke to my friend about this last night and wanted to remember this as one of my all-time favourite dishes to serve to friends at dinner.  It’s impressively delicious, and really easy to make – the slow cooker really does it all for you.

This dish was inspired by Oso’s wild boar braised in red wine.  Not having easy access to wild boar, I decided to try it with the more readily-available pork belly.

Brown the pork belly strips (I use one strip per person) in a frying pan until brown and crispy, about 3 minutes each side.

Pop the browned pork belly strips into your slow cooker along with a few cloves of garlic, some thyme and about a bottle of red wine (for four).  It will reduce down, so don’t worry that there seems to be a lot of wine in the cooker.  I put the slow cooker on high for an hour or two and then reduce it to low for the next 6 hours, but guess you could even pop it all in the cooker in the morning and leave it on slow for the day to have a wonderful pasta sauce by dinnertime.

While the pasta is cooking, take out any large pieces of the pork belly, shred into large chunks and then add back into the sauce.  Season to taste.

When you’re ready to eat, cook your pappardelle in salted water (the flavour of the water should be how salty you want your pasta to be) to just before al dente, then drain and transfer to a large frying pan with a few spoons of the cooking water (just so that the sauce can coat the pasta and make it silky) and add the sauce.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a few drops of good olive oil.