In my continuing effort to use my cookbooks more often, I chose this recipe for dinner on my parents last night in San Diego. Yes, I am still posting recipes from my parents visit but I have to tell you, this recipe was another big huge win. The bonus was that most of the cooking for this meal was hands off. I was able to throw everything together in my Dutch oven and forget about it for a few hours. The other great thing about braising is that it gives the meat plenty of time to soften and soak up all of the good flavor from the various spices, resulting in a tender and rich meal.
I hate to say it, but I’m pretty inexperienced when it comes to different cuts of meat. We tend to do a lot of chicken breast, flank steak, sirloin steak, and pork, so when I made my grocery list I just wrote down “short ribs”. Luckily I came across a butcher at Whole Foods that was incredibly helpful and more importantly patient. I told him what I needed and he said, bone in or boneless. One look at my blank stare and he knew I needed help. He asked me what I was making, how it was going to be cooked, etc. In the end I went with both bone-in and boneless, that he cut special for me to be thicker and more meaty. This way I got the best of both worlds, the deep flavor that the marrow from the bone gives and plenty of meat to eat with out picking around bones (something I am even more appreciative of after spending a month in China :)).
Asian Style Braised Short Ribs
(Adapted from Food Network Favorites)
5 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 4-ounce portions
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (5-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved and smashed*
1 1/2 Tbsp peeled and minced ginger
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 quart (4 cups) water
1/2 cup sliced green onion including whites
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh pineapple or orange juice (originally the recipe called for OJ but I had run out, so I used pineapple and it worked)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*I could not find fresh lemon grass, but I did find some dried lemon grass at Whole Foods so I used 1 tsp of that and rubbed it between my fingers while adding it to the pot.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a Dutch oven, combine the short ribs, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, brown sugar, water, green onion, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Make sure that the stockpot is deep enough so that the short ribs are submerged in the liquid.
Bake the short ribs, covered, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Remove the short ribs from the braising liquid and cover to keep warm. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Drain the fat off of the cooking liquid and discard.
Place the remaining braising juices in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup of the hoisin sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid until only about 1 1/4 cups remain. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer (discarding the solids)back in to the dutch oven. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of orange juice and the lemon juice.
Return the short ribs the sauce and Dutch oven. Coat the short ribs with the sauce. Bake for 10 minutes, until the short ribs are heated through and slightly glazed*. Serve hot over rice. Season each portion with the orange zest and garnish with the green onions if desired.
* For the last 2 minutes or so I turned on the broiler.