balthazar’s braised beef ribs

November 11th, 2009 · 34 Comments

has it been 7 weeks? my god, how have you been? and look, you’ve come back to see me, even after all this time. i am both grateful and humbled and i have A LOT to tell you. but i’m going to take it one post at a time so as not to bombard you with too much. anyway, let’s just call this my hiatus – my extended autumn break. i never meant to be away this long. but see? that’s life. one day you’re 23 with amazing thighs and then you wake up 25 years later and well, you’re me. but i’m really not complaining. because i’ve been having a grand time. this life i lead is bonafide "charmed" and if i were 15 (ok, 20) (ok 30) pounds thinner, everything would be perfect, and no one could so much as bear being around me. so perhaps my extra padding is the great equalizer. or something. (FRETTING already…)
so where do i begin? i spent a good part of yesterday compiling photos from no less than four different cameras (my nikon slr, my point and shoot, iphone AND a cvs drugstore disposable little number) where i vaguely attempted to chronicle my recent excursions to seattle, nyc, atlanta and florida, along with my last 4 day catering gig, as well as a few various dishes of my own that i somehow bothered to photograph. as of late, so much of my cooking hasn’t even been documented. and i must tell you that it has been somewhat of a relief – to just cook something wonderful, serve it and then eat it while it’s still hot. you know, like regular people do…
as a re-entry post, i thought i’d hit you with some short ribs. when i perused the ingredient list of this recipe, it appeared simply undeniable. chris widick was pretty much at the helm of this dish – the centerpiece of a kick-off dinner of what was about to be 6 major meals in a row over the course of 72 hours. i was running around shopping for the last of the ingredients and chris was left to his own devices. as usual he had his way with the meat and the final result was flawless, served over some slow cooked polenta with braised brussels sprouts on the side. i had chris triple the recipe and from the leftovers had a grand dinner party last week serving the ribs alongside a braised (also local) rabbit dish with lots of pancetta, fresh sage, rosemary and white wine.. damn fine.
these pretty ribs were from emerald glen, a farm not too far from here in munfordville, kentucky. i am sometimes skeptical of the local beef but really, these ribs – from grass finished red devon herds, were very good. and more than anything, i’m just proud to buy meat from weldon hawkins, an 8th generation farmer working the same 110 acres that his great great great great great grandfather (holy shit) did. weldon’s poultry and eggs are as good as it gets and i’m a fan of his pork too. so even though i am the mail order queen, when given a fine local source i am truly delighted to support it.
i haven’t got a photo of the finished product. i must tell you that when there are 4 people trying to plate hot food for 12, things move too quickly – and really i just would have been in the way. i swing a VERY wide path – for too many reasons to mention…
balthazar’s braised beef ribs
the balthazar cookbook
6 short rib of beef (5 to 7 pounds)
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 stalk celery, halved
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh coarse ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 shallots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ruby port
4 cups full-bodied wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
6 cups veal stock (veal stock is really best but you can substitute good homemade beef stock)

1. preheat the oven to 325°F
2. bind each rib with cotton kitchen twine. place the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf between the two celery halves and bind with kitchen twine.
3. season the short ribs with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the pepper.
4. heat the oil in a large dutch oven over a high flame until it smokes.
5. in two batches, brown the short ribs well on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, pouring off all but 3 tablespoons of oil between batches.
6. remove the ribs and set aside when done.
7. lower the flame to medium, and add the carrots, onion, shallots, and garlic to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and light brown.
8. stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
9. add the flour and stir well to combine. add the port, red wine, and the celery-herb bundle.
10. raise the flame to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by a third, about 20 minutes.
11. return the ribs to the pot (they will stack into two layers).
12. add the stock and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt; if the stock doesn’t cover the ribs by at least 1 inch, add water up to that level.
13. bring to a gentle simmer, cover, transfer to the preheated oven, and cook for 3 hours. visit the pot occasionally and stir the ribs, bringing the ones on the bottom up to the top — they’re done when the meat is fork tender and falling off the bone.
14. transfer the ribs to a large platter and remove the strings.
15. skim fat from the surface of the sauce, and then strain through a sieve into a medium saucepan.
16. discard the solids.
17. over medium heat, bring the sauce to a strong simmer and reduce the liquid until slightly less then half (4 cups) remains, about 1 hour.

this recipe is as classic a short rib recipe as there could ever be. the finished sauce is deep and rich – almost silken. and the beauty of these braised dishes is that although they may be a bit time consuming, they really are incredibly easy –  and if one is so inclined, can stand a good deal of tweaking, leaving room for your own personal experimentation.

but like with julia’s boeuf bourguignon, there are certain instances where the classic is all you could ever wish for and that is when i tend to just happily follow along...
ok- one last thing for now… i did want to share with you the menus that we served over the course of the seminar held early last month:
 a little 4 pm pick me up… nutmeg dusted bittersweet chocolate cake
bruschetta :  tomato, basil, olive oil / kale, garlic, red pepper flakes / white bean, red wine and rosemary
papardelle with roasted butternut and acorn squash cooked in chicken stock and drizzled with very brown butter, crisped sage and grated dark chocolate
balthazar’s short ribs with polenta and braised brussels sprouts
affogado: vanilla gelato, espresso
pizza : tallegio, chanterelles, truffle oil / fontina, mozzarella, tomato sauce / sausage, rapini, garlic, pecorino
caesar salad w/ frico crisps
nutmeg bittersweet chocolate cake
paul bertolli’s percatelli al’amatraciana
jamie oliver’s porchetta – with cherry espresso agrodulce on the side
farro salad – with roasted carrots, chili, parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper
orangette’s butterscotch budino
pasta ceci
mixed greens
rosemary, garlic, black pepper flatbread
smitten kitchen’s apple cake
cannellini beans with arugula, grape tomatoes, oregano, garlic, lemon, anchovy
roast chickens on a bed of rainbow chard with shallots
a gremolata of toasted pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest and flat leaf parsley
roasted potatoes: salt, olive oil, thyme
pesto cencioni with grilled shrimp
pork scallopine with a salad of shaved fennel, red onion, romaine, capers, lemon zest and juice
A16’s pear zabaglione
everyone left 5 lbs heavier with a smile on their face. we do it all again in march, june and october ’10.

it’s quite the ride…

Tags: beef · pork

34 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nancy at goodfoodmatters // Nov 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    at last!
    a perfect recipe for short ribs, and
    what gorgeous menus from your seminar, spot-on balance and variety.

    weldon’s meats and poultry are all excellent—you can feel good about using, for so many reasons.

  • 2 kitchengeeking // Nov 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Oh lady! You know how to make a (re)entrance! Welcome back.

  • 3 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Nov 11, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I may not be as skinny as I was at 23 (then again, I wasn’t particularly skinny at 23 – I haven’t been skinny since I hit puberty at age 10 or so…) I would still be happy to be 15 pounds heavier if I got to eat this stuff.

    Has it really been 7 weeks. I’m glad I have you as a FB friend so I notice your absence less.

  • 4 Choosy Beggar Tina // Nov 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Welcome back!! That menu alone was worth the wait. What kind of seminar was that? I wish that any seminar/training sessions that I went on had half the gusto of what these lucky people got!

  • 5 Maggie // Nov 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Mmmmm….. Sign me up!

  • 6 Melissa // Nov 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    That ribs recipe reminds me so much of the one from Sunday Suppers (which I made from SK Deb’s post on them), but with different ratios of ingredients. I like the balthazar addition of garlic, rosemary and shallots. But the best part of the combination here was definitely the braising liquid. Drinkable it’s so good. I’ll try this version next time methinks.

    Glad to see you in this space. Hope you’re getting some rest after all your travels.

  • 7 maggie // Nov 11, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    What a marvelous set of menus. Still sad I missed you in NY…so sorry for that.

    Important, every once an awhile, to remember to eat for the joy of it and not for the blog. Though I’d love to see any and all photos you’ve got.

  • 8 Lauren // Nov 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    whoa…it’s been so long. good to see you back. my keyboard was beginning to forget what drool felt like.

  • 9 The Italian Dish // Nov 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    You’re back! And you have been one busy woman! The short ribs look amazing and I love that you posted your menus – they look fantastic! Porchetta, A16’s pear zabaglione. . .wow.

  • 10 claudia // Nov 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    the a16 zabaglione was made by heidi robb. but it was a gelatin version – unlike what i am accostomed to. the pears were fantabulous though… but for me it’s not a do-over. still it was scarfed up and loved by the masses.

    melissa – the braising liquid was crazy good!

    maggie – next time…

    tina – i run seminars for aspiring songwriters. afterall, this is nashville… !

    thanks everyone… i’m glad to be in touch. it actually DOES mean something to me. blogging has become part of how i define myself. crazy.

  • 11 Jennifer Hess // Nov 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    WOW. Well that was most certainly worth the wait. Welcome back, lady. xo

  • 12 SpinachTiger // Nov 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    A knock-out. You will have me dreaming about these short ribs. One day, we have to meet.

  • 13 ntsc // Nov 12, 2009 at 6:18 am

    Will be doing short ribs for 9 for the night before Thanksgiving. Not certain of which recipe, although the wife has probably made her mind up. Will show her this though.

  • 14 Colleen // Nov 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I know it is only 8:30am, but I am now craving short ribs, thanks to you! They look amazing!

  • 15 Brooke // Nov 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Welcome back Claudia! Sorry we missed you while you were in Sea-town. Would have been nice to have lunch. Wah.

    The short ribs look divine. I’ve never attempted them before, but now I have a recipe!

  • 16 Bren // Nov 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    wait a minute! you were in ATL and didn’t call me!! shame! glad ur back an 20 lbs lighter!

  • 17 we are never full // Nov 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    everyone deserves a break!! hell, we took a long one over the summer. it was awesome. glad you’re back!!!!

  • 18 Jaime (hori hori dig dig) // Nov 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Heaven’s to betsy… I love ribs! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ll be back!

  • 19 rach // Nov 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I love reading your menu’s.
    I missed you and got most familiar with the spaghetti photo…
    Ribs, in large quantities NICE.

  • 20 Sarah in Franklin // Nov 14, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I was getting worried about you! I literally was checking every day in hopea of seeing somethig other than that bowl of spaghetti (same here Rach!)

    Love the post. Love your blog. And I would love to meet you too – same as Spinach Tiger!

    See! We are all big fans!

  • 21 Sarah in Franklin // Nov 14, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    My typing is terrible. Sorry. I am drinking some really good wine. It’s Saturday night!!!

  • 22 Barbara Kiebel // Nov 15, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Sometimes the very best recipes are just the classic version. This one looks perfect. Thank you!

  • 23 Lissa // Nov 15, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    wow! those ribs make me easily imagine luscious beef grease on my lips- one of the biggest pleasures of eating a good piece of beef…

  • 24 farmhouse dining table // Nov 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    This is a perfect rib recipe! I can have them serve on a party where everyone don’t have to mess with the usual big spare ribs!

  • 25 Robert // Nov 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm


    Actually not so much a wide path, but, the distraction is quite complete in your wake……….

    Glad you wrestled your website back from the trolls, there really wasnt much hope of them doing this nice a job without you.

  • 26 claudia // Nov 17, 2009 at 10:48 am

    robert – that will teach me not to wait a year to update my wordpress site…

    now EVERYONE – go make some short ribs soon. this recipe or another. just do it…

  • 27 Tracy W. // Nov 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I am a short rib LOVAH. I make them all different ways but I’m going to give this one a whirl.

  • 28 TheBrad // Nov 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    w00t! Love it – I just had a moment…

  • 29 Marie // Nov 18, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Do you have any idea how awesome that looks???

  • 30 laura // Nov 19, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Ben tornata! I decided to stop checking in every single day … and eccoti! Thank you.

  • 31 deana // Dec 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Those look soooo good. Ribs in bondage! The port is genius.

  • 32 Simon // Apr 25, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I know it is only 8:30am, but I am now craving short ribs, thanks to you! They look amazing!

  • 33 Larry // Apr 26, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Will be doing short ribs for 9 for the night before Thanksgiving. Not certain of which recipe, although the wife has probably made her mind up. Will show her this though.

  • 34 How to cook beef rib // Nov 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    […] Cook eat FRET – balthazar's braised beef ribs 11 Nov 2009. balthazar's braised beef ribs. the balthazar cookbook. 6 short rib of beef (5 to 7 pounds) 2 sprigs rosemary 6 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf Cook eat FRET – balthazar's braised beef ribs […]

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