Sunday, February 19, 2012

Slow Braised Short Ribs with an Ancho Chili Syrah Reduction

As promised, I’m following up yesterday’s dessert post with one about our actual Valentine’s meal. We had planned a nice dinner at home for the evening. It seems we often fall back on cooking filets for our at home dinner dates, so I wanted to try something a little different.

I had seen this amazing looking recipe for braised short ribs with an ancho chili spiced syrah reduction from Tasty Trials. I took a quick glance down the list of ingredients: a bottle of syrah, ancho chili, garlic, cinnamon, cocoa, peppercorns and herbs. How could this not be good?

I’m happy to say that this is one recipe that turns out every bit as good as the recipe looks. The addition of the cocoa powder and cinnamon might seem a bit odd, but the combination smells amazing, and tastes every bit as good. The meat turned out incredibly flavorful and tender.

Be mindful of the fact this cooks for three hours. Since Valentine’s fell on Tuesday this year, we ended up having a late dinner. Even though this does take some time to cook, it’s actually simpler than it sounds.

Slow Braised Short Ribs with an Ancho Chili Syrah Reduction
Found on Tasty Trials

• 1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless or bone-in beef short ribs
• flour
• salt
• pepper
• oil
• 4 carrots
• 3 celery stalks
• 1 small fennel bulb
• 2 tomatoes
• 1 yellow onion
• 1 head of garlic
• 1 sprig of rosemary
• 6-8 sprigs of thyme
• 20 peppercorns
• 1 bottle of your favorite syrah
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• water
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

First, preheat the oven to 350. Roughly chop all of the vegetables. Cut a head of garlic in half. The garlic does not have to be peeled, as the mixture will be strained later.

Trim fat off the ribs. Season with salt and pepper and lightly coat in flour.

Heat some oil in a 6 quart dutch oven or pot that can be left in the oven. Sear the ribs to give them a nice caramelized brown color, then remove to a separate plate.

Add the vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns to the pot. Use a small amount of the wine to deglaze the pot, scraping all the browned flavorful bits off the bottom. Add the remaining wine. (I’ve always heard that while you can go slightly cheaper with wine you are using in cooking, it’s still important to buy something you’d actually enjoy drinking. I used a Kendall Jackson syrah.)

Stir in the brown sugar, cocoa, ancho chili powder, and cinnamon. (This is the point where it will start to smell AMAZING.)

Place the ribs back into the pot. If the ribs cannot be covered with the liquid, add a little water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then remove from stove and cover. Place in oven and cook for 3 hours.

Remove the pot after three hours. Remove the ribs and set aside. Run the remaining mixture through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Discard the solids. Place the liquid in a separate pan and simmer until it begins to thicken. Stir in butter. Serve sauce over the short ribs and your favorite mashed potatoes.

I couldn’t tell by the recipe how thick the sauce was really supposed to be. Mine never thickened quite as much as I’d like, but part of that might have been that I had to use a little bit of water when I first cooked the ribs and vegetables.

I served my ribs with caramelized onion mashed potatoes and some brussels sprouts roasted with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey.

I’ll have to remember this recipe whenever I’m looking for a nice weekend meal that I have time to let cook throughout the afternoon.

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