Cooking with bones is far from the norm of mainstream home cooking. Everything is bought skinned and boneless and as a result, just about void of any real flavor. There’s been a bit of a movement as of late to bring back the bones and to appreciate the value they bring to a dish. For me, this all began when a new cookbook was introduced into my library as a Christmas gift; Bones: Recipes, History and Lore. (Check out my first recipe from this cookbook- Braised Ham Hocks with Fennel)
I was fortunate enough to find a cross-cut section of beef short ribs (about 5 ribs total) at a local butcher shop. Short ribs are a valuable export item (mainly to South Korea and Hong Kong) so they can sometimes be tricky to find in a typical grocery store. If you strike out with the larger retailers, try a local butcher shop.
Look how much marbling there is in the muscle! A low, slow braising of these beauties is exactly what they need to transform into tender, flavorful meat. Start by searing the meat-side of the short ribs in a large oven-proof skillet. When the surface has been seared, set the ribs aside and add just a few tablespoons of beef broth to the hot skillet to start the de-glazing process. Next, add in 1 roughly diced yellow onion, 6 cloves of garlic (minced) and 3 carrots (cubed into 1 inch sections). When the onions have started to soften and turn translucent, add 1 quart of beef broth into the pan of vegetables and let simmer. Next, spoon in 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes from a jar. Add the short ribs back into the pan and bring to a boil.
This is what everything will look like at this point. Nicely browned short ribs nestled in with the partially cooked vegetables and beef broth. Remove the pan from the stovetop and cover with foil. Pop this all into a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.
2 hours later, this is what you’ll find. A delicious, yet unattractive pan of short ribs and vegetables. (Harsh but true, right!?)
Ahh, much better! Short ribs are so much more meaty than standard beef ribs. The meat can be incredibly tender if cooked properly and braising is key to not only tenderize the meat, but also to help bring out the flavor of the rib bones.
Have you been cooking with bones lately? Any particular cut of bone-in meat strike your fancy?