In the blink of an eye, fall has arrived – and what a difference a week makes. Last Sunday my dad and sister arrived home with bright red faces after baking in the unforgiving sun at the Giants game – this week, my dad and I donned sweatshirts and jackets.
The brisk weather inspired a desire to braise something low and slow allowing the intoxicating smell of meat to warm my apartment. I stopped by another local butcher (this time, Dellapietras on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights) to procure three pounds of short ribs, which at $13.99 per pound was a heafty purchase. I chose to pair the pricey meat with homemade garlicky mashed potatoes letting the meat have some legs to last the week.
After a quick stop at Trader Joe’s for herbs (thyme, chives and parsley), mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots), a bag of rustic potatoes and whole milk, as well as stopping by the wine store for an inexpensive dry red wine (the staff recommended a Bordeaux), I headed home for five hours of culinary bliss.
What I love about Alison Roman’s recipe for Garlicky Short Ribs from the New York Times is that after working hard for the first 45 minutes or so (the amount of time it takes to listen to most of Taylor Swift’s Lover album), the rest of the time is inactive – just staring at the oven to be reminded it’s a covered dutch oven. Patience, my friend.
I preheated the oven to 275°, prepped the veggies, giving them a rough chop before moving on to the meat. Seasoning the beef on all sides, brown the short ribs in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy dutch oven (I use a bright yellow Le Creuset) working in batches, move the ribs to the side, letting them rest and the juices pool up on the plate (save the juices!).
One note – I opted to keep the recipe the same even though I used two pounds less of meat than the recipe called for. The only real modification needed is that you likely won’t have to pour off fat/juices after browning the meat (it calls for just needing two tablespoons).
From there, add two halved heads of garlic, cut side down, to let them brown for about 1-2 minutes. Then add the mirepoix, cooking for about 5-8 minutes, until slightly softened. Next, add three tablespoons of tomato paste, cooking until it becomes caramelized (about 3 minutes).
Two cups of wine join the party now. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits of short ribs crusting the bottom of the dutch oven – this is where so much of the flavor comes from. And finally, after letting that come to a slow simmer, add two cups of beef broth and four sprigs of time.
Once that all mixes together, the ribs rejoin the party, getting nestled into the gorgeously deep red mixture. Cover the dutch oven, and place into the preheated oven for four hours.
About three hours in, it was time to focus on garlic mashed potatoes (I modified a recipe from Florence Fabricant in the New York Times to infuse a bit more garlic flavor). Peel three pounds of rustic potatoes and cut into two inch pieces. Add potatoes and eight garlic cloves to a cold pot covered with water – bring to a boil and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the skin of the potatoes.
When the water starts boiling, add ¾ cup of milk to a separate small saucepan along with some chopped garlic to infuse more flavor into the potatoes. Cook on low until it begins to mildy simmer (you want it hot, not boiling).
Once the potatoes are ready, drain and add to a boil, smashing with the back of a fork. Strain the milk to remove the garlic (they won’t be fully cooked, but will give the milk some flavor) and add to the potatoes, mixing together until smooth. Then add six tablespoons of butter, mixing until melted. Season generously with salt and extra garlic powder if you feel it needs more garlic flavor.
Now, time for plating – since your timing should be right and the short ribs are ready! Remove the dutch oven from the oven and take in hours of hard work. The dark brown, rich liquid that now surrounds the beautifully browned, falling off the bone short ribs, remind you why the time was worth it.
I like to put a helping of potatoes on the bottom of a shallow, wide bowl and add two to three short ribs on top. Add some sauce from the pan to coat the short ribs and pool in the crevices of the potatoes. Top with fresh chives, parsley and some lemon zest – and pour yourself a glass of the leftover Bordeaux. You deserve it!
As for the leftovers, I’m enjoying shredded short ribs on top of a hearty kale salad for lunch and planning to indulge with some short rib tacos later in the week. It’s a great base to keep the week’s meals exciting. It also helps to rationalize the cost by transforming dishes with things you already have in the pantry with a luxurious meat. Truly a perfect way to welcome fall.