Sunday, January 19, 2014

Italian-Style Braised Beef Short Ribs with Rich Tomato Sauce

I will definitely be making this again. Not only is the beef succulent and the sauce rich and deeply flavorful, but leftover sauce makes a perfect pasta sauce. The recipe is deceptively simple, with only tomatoes and garlic going into the braising liquid. But with the spices in the meat rub and the flavor of the beef itself, the end result is layers of savory goodness. Serve this over egg noodles or polenta.

I used tomatoes that I had roasted prior to freezing, which I am sure added to the depth of flavor. But given the long simmering called for here, canned tomatoes or tomatoes frozen raw (thaw them first!) would work well, too. Also: no need to be strict about using short ribs. Other good braising cuts like shanks or various pot roast cuts would work well, too. You can use (say, 2-3 lbs) if you have a boneless cut.

4 lbs beef short ribs
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
7-10 cups tomatoes with their liquid (canned or frozen; thawed if frozen)
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

Have the short ribs at or near room temperature.  Preheat the broiler of your oven. Place the short ribs on a baking pan with sides (you may with to line it with foil for easier cleanup).

Combine the salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and oregano in a small bowl and mix well. Rub this mixture all over the meat.

Broil the short ribs for 5-8 minutes per side, until nicely browned on both sides.

Place the browned short ribs in a Dutch oven or similar pot. You should be able to get the lid on comfortably, but you don't want a lot of extra room. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2-3 hours (a bit more if you have the time), until the meat is very tender.

When the short ribs are tender, remove them from the pot and set aside.  Using an immersion blender, puree the braising liquid, then return the short ribs to the pot.

Serve the short ribs over egg noodles or polenta with a generous serving of sauce.

Serves 4-6.

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