I love situational ethics, don’t you? So when Noah was much younger, his adventurous eating gene hadn’t kicked in yet and I would make two dinners. For him, for years, it was mini cheese ravioli with butter. Or mayonnaise, salt and pepper sandwiches. I know. I think that second one borders on child abuse, but he really liked them. Then I made a grown-up supper for Mark and me. And Mark ragged on me mercilessly about Dammit Boy dictating his dinner.
For Lent this year, I am going vegetarian three days a week. “Good luck with that,” Mark said, not taking into consideration that the days of making two meals for supper is long gone. Mark is a meat maniac. He would brush his teeth with liver pate if it weren’t so expensive. But he didn’t say a word after wishing me luck. You know how that silent treatment goes. I filled the void thinking about vegetarian dishes he would actually eat. I stopped after anything involving portobello mushrooms, which is the only meat substitute King Daddy recognizes.
If I were a stronger person, I would not have done what I ended up doing. I would have shoved sticks and twigs down his throat and forced him to smile while chewing. But I am not a strong person and I ended up making Anne Burrell’s terrific recipe for short ribs and a big pot of chili, food I will not be able to consume but which will keep Mark from crying like a baby at dinnertime.
And you know what? How the screw does turn. While I spent five hours providing him with alternate meals, he did not say a word.
The recipe calls for bone-in short ribs, but I often find the ones at the supermarket are too skimpy. Costco has beautiful boneless short ribs that work just as well. Also, the recipe in Anne’s wonderful Cook Like A Rock Star includes horseradish, a nice kick. So I included it in the recipe on the blog, but the recipe on the Food Network site leaves it out. You choose.
Anne Burrell’s Braised Beef Short Ribs
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
1/3 cup horseradish
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leavesSeason each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again. Add the tomato paste and horseradish. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.
Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.