Short ribs make an excellent dish for entertaining because they can be made well ahead of time and finished at the last minute. For best results, you’ll want to search out the meatiest short ribs you can find.
One of the problems I find with shorts ribs (and other cuts of meat such as lamb shanks) is that frequently the results turn out a bit too fatty for my taste, even when you trim the fat. After all, we’re all trying to eat healthier today with less fat in our diet.
To remedy not eating some of the fat that inevitably comes from cuts of meat such as short ribs, I cook the dish up to a certain point, skim the fat from the top, and then here’s the important part - I refrigerate the dish overnight to allow more of the fat to rise to the top. The next day I scrape off the additional fat and end up with a much leaner dish. I encourage you to try it with other dishes you cook that contain fatty cuts of meat because this one extra step makes such an incredible difference in the amount of fat in the dish.
Short Ribs Provencale
Adapted from The Carefree Cook by Rick Rodgers – serves 6
6 pounds individual short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
12 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed slightly
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hearty red wine
1 ¾ cups beef stock, preferably reduced sodium and fat free
1 – 14 ½ ounce can diced plain tomatoes in juice, drained (retain juice)
1 large bay leaf
8 ounces baby-cut carrots
½ cup Mediterranean black olives, preferably Nicoise, (I used Kalamatta)
3 tablespoons or more chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Serve with mashed potatoes
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Bring the short ribs to room temperature and season with the salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large (at least 6 quart) Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. In batches, taking care not to crowd, add the short ribs to the pot and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a platter and set aside.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Add the onion, chopped carrot, and celery to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, Herbs de Provence, and flour and stir until the garlic gives off its aroma, about 1 minute, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a long wooden spoon. Add the broth, tomatoes, and bay leaf. Return the short ribs and any juices that have accumulated, to the pot. If necessary, add the remaining juice from the tomatoes plus cold water so liquid barely reaches the top of the ribs. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Cover tightly, transfer to the oven and bake, stirring occasionally to change the position of the ribs, until the meat is falling-off-of-the-bone tender, about 2 ½ hours. Transfer the short ribs to a deep serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, discard the fat and the bay leaf.
*Now for the most important step in this recipe if you want this dish to be as lean as possible. As soon as the dish comes to room temperature, return the short ribs to the pot, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day (or whenever you are planning to serve the dish,) remove from the refrigerator and, with a spoon, scrape off the fat that has accumulated on top of the ribs and the liquid and discard the fat. At this point, you can return the dish to the refrigerator, covered, or you can proceed with the final cooking.
Remove the short ribs and place on a deep platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil over high heat and cook until it is reduced to a sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of your pot.
While the sauce is reducing, parboil the baby carrots in boiling water for a few minutes, then brown the carrots in a tiny bit of extra-virgin olive oil until cooked through and glazed on top. Add the ribs, glazed carrots, and olives to the sauce and cook to heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped parsley, then taste and correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve over mashed potatoes.