Somethin’ to Stick to Your RibsPosted: December 13, 2011
When my family visited for Thanksgiving, I stocked my house with foods that they all liked. Cheese spread and crackers for my dad. Apple sauce for my brother. Wine for my mom. And root beer for my nephew … who left me with a few bottles. I suppose I could’ve had a root beer float party, but when I came across this recipe for braised short ribs, it seemed like a better way to go. If you’ve braised meat before, you know that it takes a few hours. If you haven’t, don’t let that discourage you. It’s really simple – you literally throw stuff into a Dutch oven and then into a real oven – and in the end, the meat is tender and full of flavor.
Root Beer Braised Short Ribs
– 3 ½ lbs of short ribs, cut into 4 inch pieces
– 1 large white onion, cut into wedges
– 5 celery stalks, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
– 2 handful of baby carrots
– ½ of a head of garlic
– 6 sprigs of thyme
– 2 sprigs of rosemary
– 2 bay leaves
– Pinch of cumin
– 2 ½ cups of beef broth
– 2 cups of root beer
Heat your oven to 275º.
Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil on high. In batches, brown the short ribs on all sides. Remove the short ribs and set aside.
Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and cumin to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring any brown bits from the bottom, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Return the short ribs to the pot and add the beef broth and root beer. Bring to a simmer, then cover and place the pot in oven. Cook until meat can be easily pierced with the tip of a pairing knife, 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Remove the short ribs from the pot and transfer to a large skillet. Skim off the any fat from the liquid in the Dutch oven, and then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Discard the veggies, stems and other solids. Pour the liquid over the short ribs and bring to a boil over medium-high heat until liquid reduces by half, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, spooning the liquid over the meat, until the ribs are glazed and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
While braising and cooking in the skillet at the end, several short ribs fall of their bone. I took that as a good sign, and I was right. The meat was really juicy and tender, and had that nice meaty flavor you expect from short ribs, that I’m going to assume was enhanced by the beef broth and the root beer. They also have a nice, but somewhat subtle, herby flavor, too. Along with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, these ribs made for an awesome Sunday supper.