Everyone is talking about braising; it is the new ‘in’ cooking method made possible by the back to the farm movement of the new millennium.It started way before the economic downturn but it is only made more relevant because of it.I cannot think of a better trend, it is about love(braised meat is a group food), cherishing the whole animal and getting back to our roots. It is about tradition and because of this it is the perfect treatment for grass-fed beef which is a bit gamier then the beef American’s are used too. Not only that, grass-fed beef is a lot more expensive so getting cheaper cuts and braising them is a win-win situation. It is the “new fancy” and it makes me smile!
All food bloggers wax poetic about their Dutch ovens, their Amazon stores are filled with all sorts of enameled cast iron beauties. I, myself, am even guilty. I am in love with braising and my bright, lovely Dutch oven beauties. Oddly enough, even though I grew up on a farm where we ate rabbit every week, lamb and mutton we never had a braising tradition per se. My mother had a clay pot that she made magic roasts, where she paired rabbits and chickens with vegetables but the only braised meat we had was pot roast. Granted, it was one of my favorite dinners but we never had short ribs and even our lamb shanks were used in Icelandic “meat soup” which is almost identical to Irish stew but it has turnips in it and is boiled not braised.
So my love of braising is partly about the discovery. It is about patience, it is about a lovely smell wafting through my home and also smiles from those I feed.It is all in all a lovely experience.Not only that it is about taking cheep cuts of meat and turning them into something fantastic.Since Spring Lake Farm has started to offer grass-fed beef my mother and I have been braising fiends. I call her to talk about our successes and our disappointments. She thinks cooking with wine is fraught with difficulty and that adding too much liquid too early is never a good idea. I agree with the wine thing. It is hard to get a wine of good enough quality that it does not over power the meat; I think that beer, sherry and vermouth are a lovely and inexpensive alternative to the wine dilemma. Onions are a must in all braising. Anchovies are another secret ingredient that can make beef delicious.
This short ribs recipe is great because it is creates this amazingly lovely gravy. And the short ribs get this crispy surface that is roast like; you almost forget that you are eating short ribs not an expensive roast.If you have children they will love the gravy, and all the vegetables become these soft savory morsels. So good.A lot of people would serve this with mashed potatoes but because of the gravy boiled potatoes are a healthy alternative and far easier and you will not miss the mashed potatoes because of the softness of the vegetables.
Old Fashioned Grass-fed Beef Short Ribs with Gravy
- Olive oil or bacon drippings to cover bottom of dutch oven
- 2 pounds beef short ribs
- 5 cups water
- salt(about one teaspoon) and pepper to taste
- 2 carrots cut up
- 2 onions, quartered
- 4 celery ribs cut up
- 1 cup cut up turnip
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- fresh parsley and chives to taste
DIRECTIONS: Season the ribs with salt and pepper to taste and place them in a Dutch oven with one onion and celery bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook for two hours.
Remove the cooked short ribs and place them in casserole dish. Place the stock(that you just made with the boiling of the beef) and remove from dutch oven. Cover pan with fat and add flour until smooth then add 3 cups beef stock. Use the reserve stock to pour over ribs. Preheat the oven to 350-400. Place the vegetables on the bottom of the casserole and place ribs on top and bake for 45 minutes until the short ribs become browned. Serve with gravy on the side. Enjoy!