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A Wintery Short Rib Braise

I'm always thrilled to find something that's so satisfying and nourishing, it becomes a new addition to the lineup of household favorites. That's a rare occasion.

But I think we have a winner, folks. This is a braise made up of beef short ribs, mushrooms and the hearty winter greens of your choice.

There's a little fuss involved in browning the short ribs before they head into the oven for a slow-cook, but it's worth it for the rich flavor and falling-off-the-bone tenderness.

And beyond great taste, there's five additional reasons I find this dish very compelling:

1. There's almost no waste in the recipe. The veggie and mushroom stems go straight into the pot and it's a good way to use up a bit of leftover wine.
2. Short ribs are an inexpensive — but very tasty — cut of beef.
3. With no spuds, rice, pasta or parsnips, it's a pretty low-carb, low-gi dish. Good news for dieters and diabetics both.
4. I love dark, leafy greens and am always looking for more ways to use them.
5. Ditto that for mushrooms.

And did I mention tasty? I've made it two weekends in a row, and I may make it again this weekend, if that's any indication.

Wintery Short Rib Braise

It's based around a recipe I found in Mushroom Lover's Mushroom Cookbook and Primer by Amy Farges.

I've been using a combination of shiitake and portobello mushrooms, and though she recommends pearl onions, I've substituted standard white or yellow onions sliced into half-moons... I'll admit I have very little patience for the blanching/shocking/peeling process that goes into preparing pearl onions.

Wintery Short Rib Braise (Serves 4)

2 small bunches (about 2 lb) kale or Swiss chard
1 1/2 lb hearty mushrooms: button, portobello, cremini, porcini or shiitake
4 lb beef short ribs
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, halved and cut into 1/2" slices
3 cups beef, chicken or veggie stock
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup diced tomatoes

1. Wash the greens and cut the leaves away from their stems. Cut the leaves crosswise into 2-inch pieces and set aside (pack them in the refrigerator, if you wish). Cut the stems crosswise into 1" slices.
2. Trim the stems from the mushrooms, knock away any dirt and slice the stems into 1/2" pieces. Cut the mushroom tops into wedges (4 to 6 each) and hold separately from the stems.
3. Sprinkle the short ribs with salt and pepper. Over a medium-high burner, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven. Brown each of the short ribs on each side about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the browned short ribs from the pot.
4. To the same pot, add the onion slices, mushroom stems and the stems from the greens.
5. Heat the oven to 350°F. Pour in the stock, wine and tomatoes. Tuck in the short ribs. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot or dutch oven and place on the center rack in the oven. Cook until the beef is tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
6. Remove the short ribs from the pot (the bones may fall away at this point), and heat the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the reserved leaves and simmer until tender (about 10 minutes for Swiss Chard, or 30 for kale).
7. Season the sauce to taste, adding salt and pepper if necessary. Return the short ribs to the pot

If you're serving guests, you can do all the work through step #5, cool the dish down and chill it in the fridge, if you like. At that point, it's quick and easy to pull it out a day or two later to finish it off.

You could probably also use a slow cooker instead of the oven for the long-cooking part if you're so inclined.

But in any case, I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

To Warm, Homey Meals & Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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1.30.2009

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