Sunday, February 27, 2011

True fall of the bone braised short ribs

So just coming back from a trip to Montreal, where I went to the famous Le Garde Manger restaurant. I was so excited to go having heard many a fabulous review on it, and having seen the owners show on tv. I loved the atmosphere, great music, smaller than I thought, which gave it a much cozier feel than what I had expected. I was with my sister and we had reserved, several weeks in advance, 2 seats at the bar, which was all that was available. I ordered a tomato and avocado salad with fried cheddar cheese to start and then their short ribs. The salad was ok, nothing at all to write home about, and the short ribs, well, disappointing is all I can say. They were served with a small pasta-like dumpling, which was also not bad, but needed a beautiful jus to soak up some flavour, and the ribs, dry. My sister, also not impressed began with a simple green salad that was doused in dressing, and then followed with the bavette and frites. How did this compare to the steak frites she had in a nothing little restaurant in Paris in the summer, it didn't. So I decided to share a recipe that I love for true fall of the bone, moist and delicious ribs.
Be forewarned that this recipe needs to cook in the oven for 3 hrs. So plan ahead. Why do I say this? Because after a few glasses of delicious wine on a cold winter weekend, I forgot, and at 8:00 realized that my dinner was now going to be served at 11:00. Ooops...but something you will learn about me, I tend to be very detail oriented but every once in a while, something slips through the cracks, and I make an error. Usually when this happens wine is involved. The first time I realized this side of myself, I was make a lemon meringue pie for a bet that I had lost. I had never made a lemon meringue pie before, and in typical form, decided to fulfill the bet while hosting my boyfriend at the time and 2 people from his family. Oh I made a lovely dinner, all from the famous Harry's Bar cookbook, but of course, had a few too many, and forgot the crucial step in the pie preparation process where it called for baking the pie shell, empty. At the end of the dinner, I had made my beautiful lemon filling added my meringue to the top and put it into the oven, for only 5-10 mins. Clearly not enough time to bake the shell. Needless to say, all was not lost, as we had a lovely lemon meringue pudding for dessert.

Just as with this recipe, all was not lost, but to help all of you avoid the mistake, I am telling you now so I don't forget, again, 3 HRS in the OVEN!!!

This recipe comes from a fabulous cookbook, recommended to me by my best friend, called Sunday Suppers at Lucques. Lucques is a famous restaurant in California. I have never been there, but oh, I can only imagine. They are all about eating local, seasonal and the slooooow cook and are famous for the Sunday dinners. So, when I feel like filling my home with rich beautiful scents and spending a day in the kitchen I cook with this cookbook. I highly recommend it. It is not necessarily difficult, but it is a commitment.

So, this time 'round, it was braised short ribs, with horseradish cream, swiss chard with oven roasted pearl onions and mashed potatoes. The results, despite the fact that it was 11:00 when we finally ate, and I was pretty well ready for bed, was fabulous! Melt in your mouth, full of beautiful rich flavours and served with a lovely medium-full bodied red wine, almost perfection! (Perfection would have been served at 8:00) Hope you enjoy it too!

Braised Short Ribs (for 2) with swiss chard & horseradish cream
Beef short ribs
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh thyme
2 whole sprigs fresh thyme
Fresh black pepper & salt
1/2 diced onion
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup port
1 cup full bodied red wine
2-1/2 cups beef stock (preferably organic)
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 dozen pearl onions
extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard, cleaned, center rib removed
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 tbsp prepared horseradish (I like one with a bit of a kick)

  • Using your hands to coat the meat, season the shorts ribs with the tbsp of thyme and cracked pepper. Then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove the meat approx. 1 hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Approx. 30 mins later, season them with salt on all sides.


  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • In the meantime, toss the pearl onions with 1 tsp of fresh thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them onto a baking sheet and roast them for approx. 15 mins, or until tender. 
  • When the onions have cooled, slip off the skins with your fingers and set aside.
  • Turn oven down to 325 F

  • When you are ready to cook your ribs, heat a large saute pan over high heat (approx 3 mins.) Pour some olive oil into the pan, wait 1 min while it heats, and when it is so hot it is almost smoking, place the ribs into the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all sides. Be sure not to crowd the meat when searing and do it in batches if necessary. This will take approx. 10-15 mins. When they are nicely browned, put them into an oven-friendly dish and add in the parsley
  • Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery , thyme sprigs and the bay leaf. Cook for approx. 15 mins, until the vegetables begin to caramelize. 
  • Add the vinegar, port and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
  • Pour over top of the ribs and cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and place into the oven for approx 2-1/2 - 3 hours.


  • In the meantime, prepare your mashed potatoes (recipe not included), and the horseradish cream.
  • Combine the creme fraiche and horseradish into a small bowl, and season with salt & pepper .
  • The ribs will be done when it yields easily to a knife. At this point, remove them from the oven, and rest for approx. 10 mins. 
  • Turn the oven back up to 400 F
  • Place the short ribs back into the oven (without the sauce) and all them to brown for approx 5-10 mins.
  • Strain the sauce into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables to extract all the sauce. Skim the fat, and then reduce it over med-high heat until slightly thick. Taste for seasoning.
  • For the swiss chard, heat a large saucepan over high heat for 2 mins. Add olive oil and then the pearl onions from earlier. Then add in the swiss chard and cook for 1-2 mins, just until beginning to wilt. Add in a splash of water, and cover . Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently until ready.

Serve with potates & chard, then beef on top with sauce and a dollop of horseradish cream.

ENJOY!! And if you like this, pick up the book!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this recipe - anything from Suzanne Goin rocks.

    ReplyDelete