Adventures in Short Ribs

Salt & pepper your ribs! 
Short ribs are a juicy bit of rib that are great when braised and in hearty sauces. I have long seen them on various cooking shows, being bragged about as if they were the holy grail of ribs or something, and I wondered about them. I have been getting more "into" meat lately, and trying to explore recipes with new kinds of meat. After seeing a recipe of Giada de Laurentiis', I was left dying to try her recipe for short ribs.

Short ribs can be found in the meat department of your grocery. Of course, I think it's better if you can get them form a butcher, but I wasn't able to do that this time around. Don't be embarrassed, either, if you don't know what a short rib looks like... I didn't! I just went right up to the man in the meat department, and I asked him to show me the short ribs. He was only too happy to help! 

With my short ribs in hand, I ventured home to enjoy making my first short rib. When I declared to my husband that I was taking on short ribs, his mouth started to water, so I had even more confidence! I knew that the recipe would time consuming, but I am not afraid of that. Nothing troubles me less than spending a day in the kitchen. 

Brown them on all sides! 
Like I said, I was intrigued by Giada's recipe, so I wanted to try that one specifically. You can get that recipe here. I did make a few changes, though. I omitted the panchetta (for budgeting reasons) I followed the recipe up to the point of discarding the bones of the meat, but then I did not shred the meat. Close to the end, I added a handful of whole brussel sprouts, to add a little green without a lot of fuss. Leaving the the meat intact, I served it over a creamy polenta from my In The World Kitchen cookbook. I did top it with the chocolate, though, and let me tell you, that was amazing! Don't miss that step, or you will live to regret it. SO yummy! 

Add the sauce ingredients and stir 
I loved the combination of the chocolate, polenta, and the meat. The meat was tender and the sauce was amazing! It had a great beefy flavor, but it also had a robust tomato taste as well. This recipe for the short ribs had me turned on to this great cut of meat. Why had those people raved about short ribs? Because they really are so great! I recommend trying this recipe, or any recipe you aren't intimidated by, with short ribs. If you are into braising meat, this isn't hard at all, and if you aren't into braising meat, just know that it takes time, but not necessarily a lot of hands on time. It's about letting the meat really get tender (over time.)

I added a handful of thyme,
tied with twine,
for extra flavor! It was delicious! 
Another note on this recipe.... call me a copycat, but on the show Giada was using an enameled cast iron pot. For our wedding, we had been gifted a lot of cast iron cookware. I had received two dutch ovens (in two sizes) and then, months later, another one, this time enameled, also arrived on our doorstep, bringing the number of dutch ovens to 3! I put the third (enameled one) in the attic, and intended to give it to the next person who got married. Who needs three dutch ovens? I thought...

Apparently, I am the woman who needs three dutch ovens! Not liking the bottom sizes of the ones I was using, I pulled the third one out of the attic to see if I liked that one any better... and I did! There is a distinct difference between cast iron and enameled cast iron. I am not sure if I exactly prefer one over the other, but I certainly like them for different reasons. 

I find that sauces can be more difficult to tackle in traditional cast iron...but in the enameled cast iron, they are better. Still, with enamel, nothing sticks, but you can also use soap, which is a plus. You might have to watch the heat a little more with the enameled pots, but it's worth it. I would say that every chef should have at least one of each to compare for themselves.

The finished product was mouth watering & impressive! 

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