The beef short rib is one of those ingredients that became more popular in Melbourne in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. Restaurants turned to offal and cheaper cuts of meat as part of the effort to maintain a viable customer base. This encouraged more meat wholesalers to supply such items, recipes began to appear in print and online and retail butchers got on board. Then the whole smoking/long braise/tex-mex/pulled meat craze hit town and the market for finger-cleaning products went off the scale!
Maggie and I rarely dine out in our home city. We have a tight budget when at home so we can splurge when we travel; and we can’t afford to eat at many places where the menu is superior to what we prepare in our own kitchen.
However, we do notice trends and, eventually, we make room in our cooking priorities for them. (An advantage of being a year or so behind trend is the volume of recipes available.) This winter, we first gave priority to versions of what we enjoyed in Europe earlier this year, before turning to beef short ribs.
So far, we have cooked two meals of beef short ribs using a different recipe each time. The first recipe, found online at http://www.smittenkitchen.com, produced a high quality result. However, the flavours were in the same family as those of Coq au vin and Boeuf Bourguignon, two of our established favourites, so it wasn’t such a blast for our palates. The second attempt produced the sort of sticky-finger experience that Maggie had envisaged. We began with a recipe in a beef promotional pamphlet and modified it to suit our own tastes and methods. The ingredients produced enough for us to have a generous dinner each and a workday lunch for Maggie.
1 kg or four pieces, beef short ribs
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
2 tsp dark brown sugar
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar, extra, for glaze
1½ tbsp dark brown sugar, extra, for glaze
- To prepare the marinade, smash the garlic and salt to a paste then add rosemary, sugar, peppers and vinegar and combine.
- Rub marinade over the rib meat, transfer ribs to a dish, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- Remove dish from fridge at least one hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 175C.
- Place ribs in a roasting pan, add ¼ cup of water and cover (we cooked our ribs in a Le Creuset dish). Cook until meat is very tender – about 1½ hours depending on quality of the meat. Remove pan from oven.
- Transfer meat to a clean dish and drain rendered fat from pan. Add ½ cup of hot water to pan and use a wooden spatula to combine water with brown bits from cooking the ribs. Heat pan – or another pan if not flame-proof – and add extra vinegar and sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced to ½ a cup.
- Brush ribs’ meaty surfaces with the glaze, transfer to a grill tray and place tray on the highest shelf of oven. Bake for about 10 minutes until the ribs are hot and caramelized.
We served our ribs with crunchy homemade potato wedges and adorably sweet, roasted baby parsnip. I think there was something green on the plate too but it didn’t make it to a photo, nor to my palate memories!