Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

When I was younger, my mom would make a dish with beef stew meat, chopped tomatoes and soy sauce. She'd let this simmer for quite a while until the beef got fall-off-the-bone tender and the sauce was rich and full of flavor. This served as my inspiration for the following recipe.

I had some beef short ribs on hand which I wanted to serve with crispy polenta rounds. Typically, I'd use a red wine to braise the beef ribs but instead, I decided to use balsamic vinegar. When used as a braising liquid, the sweet caramel notes of the vinegar really come out... similar to how the soy sauce would work in my mom's dish. It was absolutely delicious and a great way to use balsamic vinegar aside from the usual homemade vinaigrette recipes.

Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
original Joelen recipe

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 meaty beef short ribs
1 large onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups beef broth
1/2 tablespoon cornstarh
1/2 tablespoon cold water

In a dutch oven over medium high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef ribs and brown on all sides. Remove from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, add the onion and garlic. Saute until softened and then add the tomatoes and mushrooms. Stir to combine and return the beef short ribs to the pot.

Add the balsamic vinegar and beef broth and let it come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or until the beef ribs become tender and the sauce has reduced by half.

Create a slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Pour this slurry into the pot and stir to thicken the sauce.

To plate, serve up in bowls with mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or polenta. I served this over a bed of sauteed spinach and with crispy rounds of polenta.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare the recipe as directed by browning the ribs and removing from the pot to cool. Continue to saute the onions, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms until softened; remove from pot to cool. Once ribs and vegetable mixture has cooled, place in a gallon sized freezer bag. Add the balsamic vinegar to the bag, squeeze out an excess air and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost and place contents in a slow cooker/crockpot. Add the beef broth to the slow cooker/crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Continue with the rest of the recipe as directed.

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I'm also submitting this to the Culinarty Original Recipe event, hosted by Lore. Be sure to check out her site for the round up!