The key to developing the deep, rich flavor of these short ribs is all in the browning. First, the short ribs themselves get seared to develop a caramelized crust, then the vegetable mixture takes its turn getting deeply golden in the pot, and finally, a healthy heap of tomato paste goes in for a browning session. The result is layers of flavor that infuse every bit of the tender short ribs. Serving this ultra-hearty dish with horseradish-spiked mashed potatoes helps brighten everything up and adds a wonderfully creamy complement to the beef. Tangy, spicy and creamy mashers for the win!
Technique tip: Taste the water to make sure it is adequately seasoned. The water should taste like the ocean; it will probably be more salt than you think it will need. Salting the water enough is key to great mashers!
- 6 bone-in short ribs (about 5¾ pounds)
- kosher salt
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1½ cups tomato paste
- 2-3 cups hearty red wine
- 2 cups water
- 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 6 to 8 equal pieces, held in water to prevent browning
- kosher salt
- 1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 stick cold butter, cut into 4 pats
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup prepared horseradish
For the short ribs:1.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.2.
Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan; cook in batches, if necessary.3.
While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.4.
Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done, the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.
For the sour cream-horseradish mashers:1.
Place the potatoes in a large, wide pot and cover by 2 inches of water. Season the water with salt. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cool the potatoes until they are tender all the way through when poked with a fork. Probably around 20 to 25 minutes.2.
When the potatoes are cooked through, drain the water out and shake off any excess water. Return them to the pot from whence they came.3.
Heat up the cream (it is very important that the cream is hot).4.
Mash or whip the potatoes with a hand mixer. Time is of the essence here: Potatoes must be whipped or mashed while hot or they will become rubbery. Add 2 pats of butter and half of the hot cream to the potatoes and mash or beat them into the potatoes. Repeat this process with the remaining butter and cream. Beat in the sour cream and horseradish. Taste to make sure the potatoes are delicious. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.5.
Serve immediately or cover and keep warm in a low oven.