For Christmas Eve the last five years, I've made the same dinner for us. We try to celebrate Christmas with an air of Vienna, as an homage to my husband's traditions growing up. I make Wiener Schnnitzel and spätzle for dinner. As a special gift to my husband and my father in law, I also make leberknödelsuppe, which is a liver dumpling soup. (I am more than happy to blog my recipe for this if I get an overwhelming request for it.)
Some years, on Christmas day, once the presents are open, we have gotten on the road to West Palm Beach and see my in-laws. Those years, we enjoy a Christmas dinner at Waffle House. But when we are home, I always make a nice dinner to enjoy once all the craziness of the day settles down. Over the years, I've made everything from a traditional turkey dinner, to roast duck, to tenderloin. This year it was not so easy to decide what to make.
Part of me wanted to make duck again. We talked about having Beef Wellington. We even discussed Salmon Wellington. But at the last second, I asked Nico if I should make braised short ribs and he answered with a resounding yes!
I made braised short ribs for the first time February and was not thrilled with how they turned out. It's a dish I love to order in restaurants, and thought it would be fairly simple. But the recipe I used fell short. I was underwhelmed. Worst part was, we served it to guests at our home. There is nothing I hate more than making dinner for someone and it comes out terrible. Needless to say, I was nervous to make it again.
I did a little research and found a recipe online that I liked. I also found a recipe for easy braised short ribs in my latest cook book acquisition from Food & Wine magazine. I sort of combined the two methods (which were very similar, actually) and made this. It was excellent! All four of us loved it, even if the four year old of the house took a little convincing to even try it. I served it over goat cheese & chive mashed potatoes with a side of haricot vert bundles wrapped in bacon.
I wanted to make extra so we'd have left overs, so I think I bought something like 5 pounds of short ribs. I could only fit two and a half pounds in the Dutch oven, so I made a second batch of short ribs in my crock pot. I sort of winged that recipe and changed it up a bit from the oven method. When they were done, I gave them a try and they are also delicious in their own way. Instead of just tomato paste in the base, I used some barbecue sauce as well, to give a hint of barbecue. I also layered in shallots and celery since I'd used all my mirepoix in the oven ribs. My plan is to make BBQ short rib empanadas out of these "left overs" for New Years Eve cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
Traditional Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
recipe adapted from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2001 & 20 Something Cupcakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely diced
3 celery ribs, finely diced
3 carrots, finely diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons flour
One 750 ml bottle of red wine (I used a Beaujolais nouveau)
1 cup veal or chicken stock
2.5 pounds bone in beef short ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper
In a large enameled Dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the onions, celery and carrot. Cover and cook over moderate heat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the vegetables are browned, 3 more minutes. Store in the tomato paste and flour. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add the wine and stock and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Season the ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Add the to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, turning onto all sides until they are browned, about 15 minutes.
Transfer to the Dutch oven. Partially cover and cook on 350 degrees for 2.5 hours
Transfer the ribs to plate and remove the bones. Strain the sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off the fat. Return the sauce to the Dutch oven and boil until reduced to 2 cups, about 10 minutes. return the meat to the sauce and simmer over low heat until heated through. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or buttered noodles.
Crock Pot Braised Short Ribs
a Cook Au Vin original
2.5 pounds short ribs, seared on all sides (see above)
3 large shallots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced large
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
One 750 ml bottle of red wine
Place all the ingredients into a large crock pot. Stir gently to combine the tomato paste and barbecue sauce with red wine. Cook on low for 4 hours.
Transfer short ribs to a plate and remove bones. You can strain the sauce and reduce it at this point. I threw mine away because I am only intending to use the meat for a few dishes the next few days and I had extra sauce from the oven ribs.