If you read our interview with Bruce Aidells then you already know that one of the tricks he shares in his newest cookbook The Great Meat Cookbook is a braising technique that he picked up from his friend and food writer, Lisa Weiss.
"Basically," Aidells told us, "you let the oven do all of the steps in braising." By this he means cooking meat in a large Dutch oven with the lid on, then removing the lid which "browns the onions and other vegetables and concentrates the juices," then putting the lid back on. Here, Aidells applies this braising technique to a dish that incorporates fresh herbs, vegetables, red wine and English-cut short ribs.
As Aidells writes in the cookbook, "This recipe is lazy not because it relies on a convenience food, but because it's so simple and foolproof. It's perfect when you want to put a warm and comforting meal on the table and don't have time or energy for a lot of cooking steps.
"It does take a couple of hours to complete the cooking, but this can be done while you are doing something else, or even a day or two ahead. When you are ready to serve, simply pull the short ribs from the fridge, remove the congealed fat, and rewarm."
Lazy Man's Short Ribs
From: Bruce Aidells, The Great Meat Cookbook
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds bone-in English-cut beef short ribs
4 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced peeled carrots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup dry red wine, plus more if needed
1 cup homemade beef stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 bay leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the rosemary, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Toss with the short ribs and arrange the ribs in a large Dutch oven. Spread the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic over the meat, then pour in the red wine and stock and add the bay leaves. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
3. Remove the lid, stir so that most of the meat is on top of the vegetables, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir and turn the short ribs to help everything brown evenly, and check to make sure there is still liquid in the pot. If not, add more wine or stock. Replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the meat is fork tender. If not tender, continue to cook, covered, checking every 20 minutes.
4. Remove the meat and arrange on a platter. Discard the bay leaves and degrease the sauce. Boil the sauce to reduce if it's too thin. Season to taste with salt and pepper, spoon the vegetables and sauce over the meat, and serve.
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Alternative Cuts: Any chuck roast that you can cut into chunks or brisket, cut into chunks. This method is also excellent with tougher cuts of beef or lamb, such as oxtails, lamb neck, beef neck bones, or lamb or beef shanks. If using neck, increase the amount to 6 pounds. Allow 1 shank per person for lamb and about 3/4 pound beef shank per person. Beef shanks and oxtails will take 1 hour or more additional cooking time.
• You can easily adapt this recipe for a slow cooker. Brown the short ribs first in olive oil, and then brown the vegetables in the fat. Place everything in the slow cooker and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct time and temperature for beef stew.
• Serve this dish with steamed bulgur or brown rice.