Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Chard and Orecchiette

Braised short ribs are something that I used to eat in my carnivore days, and I haven't met anyone who doesn't love them.  We had them served at our wedding and Mark ordered them; he even tried to browbeat everyone who ordered chicken to change their minds!  So for all these reasons, when Annie's Eats posted a pasta dish with braised short ribs and chard, I knew I had to try it out.

The short ribs are slow cooked in a bath of cabernet (can you imagine a better idea?) with fresh thyme and parsley, onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Some tomato paste adds color and flavor to the broth.  After the ribs are done, you tear them into pieces (I threw out probably way more than I needed to, but I was very critical of every piece!) and reduce the sauce a bit to make it thicker.  The recipe suggests straining the sauce, but I kept it the way it was because I wanted the vegetables in it (mainly for me!).  Then everything gets mixed together with some wilted chard and hot pasta, and voila!  Dinner.  It's a fairly easy dish but a bit time consuming, with the 2 1/2-hour braising time, so it's a good weekend meal.

The end result was just as fabulous as Annie said on her page ("gush-worthy", was her term).  Mark ate so many bowls of it, it was crazy.  Nick and my mom ate the leftovers the next day, and this was the message I got from Nick:

So, yeah, I'd say it went over pretty well :)


cabernet braised short ribs with chard and orecchiette
from Annie's Eats
yields 8 - 10 servings

about 4 pounds meaty short ribs, excess fat trimmed
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup coarsely shopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (750 mL) bottle cabernet sauvignon
6 sprigs fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1 pound pasta shapes, such as orecchiette
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 bunch Swiss card, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
freshly grated parmesan, for serving


1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Season both sides of the short ribs generously with salt and pepper.  In a large pot with a lid, such as a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add a few of the short ribs to the pot (as many as can be easily fit in a single layer).  Sear on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove seared ribs to a plate and repeat with remaining short ribs.

2) Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.  If you do not have enough fat, add in more olive oil.  Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 - 7 minutes.  Stir in half of the minced garlic and the tomato paste.  Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the tomato paste begins to caramelize, 1 - 2 minutes.

3) Increase the heat to high.  Add the wine to the pan slowly, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan.  Maintain the heat at a low boil and let the wine reduce down to half the volume, about 12 - 15 minutes.  Return the seared short ribs to the pan along with the herbs.  If necessary, add the chicken or beef stock so that the short ribs are half submerged in liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Cover the top of the pot with a piece of parchment paper, then top with the lid to securely hold the parchment paper in place.  Transfer the pot to the oven and let cook until the meat falls off the bone easily, at least 2 1/2 hours.

4) When the meat is finished cooking, remove the short ribs to a platter.  Once cool enough to handle, shred into bite sized pieces.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Cook until al dente, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.

5) Strain the sauce left in the pot to remove the solids.  Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat and let the sauce reduce to a thicker consistency, 5 - 10 minutes.  Once reduced, set aside to cool for a few minutes.  Skin the excess fat from the top of the sauce.

6) In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion and remaining 2 cloves garlic briefly, about 2 minutes.  Add the chard to the pan.  Stir briefly, then cover to let wilt  Stir if needed to evenly wilt all of the chard.  Once pasta is cooked and drained and the greens are finished wilting, combine them together in the largest pan.  Stir in a small amount of the reserved pasta water (about 1/4 cup).  Then toss in the shredded short ribs and the cabernet reduction.  Mix gently until thoroughly combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and if needed, add additional pasta water for more moisture.  Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan.

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