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Braised meat dish for soon to be in-laws

I am very close with my boyfriends parents and they often come over for dinner- I love to cook but i feel like i always make the same thing every time they come- I want to "wow" them with a dish and i was thinking maybe braising would do the trick. Any favorite recipes for osso bucco, short ribs or any other types of meat you would reccomend??? Thanks so much in advanced for any input!!!

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  1. Short ribs are a wow dish (to me). Both Zuni and All About Braising have excellent recipes. Here are the links to the cookbook of the month. Many HC hounds have braised the shortribs and have added useful tips as well as tantalizing pictures. I also found in ABB, the braised bacon spaghetti carbonara was also a wow dish. At the very least, it was a scrape the bottom of the bowl for every last bacon bit, kind of dish.



    Another wow dish, although not braised, is the Zuni Roast Chicken with the Bread Salad.

    If you don't have the books, I borrowed both books from my local library. There are also links to various recipes in the above threads.

    1. A braised dish is a great choice because it can be made in advance and simply reheated. You can also adjust the flavors easily at that time. I like a simple carbonnade...

      1. Maybe Boeuf Bourguignon?

        But the Zuni CAfe Chicken and Bread Salad IS spectacular, I agree

        1. One easy braise for beef (short ribs are a good choice) is sauteed shallots, elephant garlic, and mushrooms added to one can whole pitted black olives and enough red wine to get the liquid up to the proper level for braising. Once the meat is in, cover the entire thing, meat, liquid and all with a thin layer of honey and braise away. The reduced liquid also makes an excellent sauce.

          1. I have done many roast chickens but never a zuni chicken- I love a roast chicken and will be trying this one soon but for this night I was kind of looking for a meat that melts in your mouth and everyone cant stop talking about.... maybe served with a creamy polenta?

            1 Reply
            1. re: gastronomy

              Definitely short ribs served with a creamy polenta. A major wow dish!

            2. From the Zuni Cafe cookbook, I've had great success with the braised bacon sauce for pasta...a real terrfiic recipe.

              Also, I've done lamb osso bucco with an olive tapenade, a much cheaper version of the veal dish...if you're interested I'll hunt the recipe.

              Those are the items on my wow list....and I agree that braising is THE way to go....

              1. The lamb dish sounds really great- if it wouldnt be to much trouble I would love both of the recipes- :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: gastronomy

                  I'd love to, but I need to wait until I'm at home near the cookbooks in question.

                  Tonite ok?

                2. yes that would be perfect- the dinner is tomorrw night! :) Thanks so much i really appreciate!!!!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: gastronomy

                    If you're making the lamb osso bucco (that'd be my choice of the two, but either is fine), you need to go out TODAY and buy lamb shanks to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. The recipe calls for six pounds as I recall, but you can lower the amount as need be....if there's four of you and there's good eaters, I'd buy six lb. (leftovers are terrific!)--ask the butcher to cut them into thirds, crosswise--and marinate in a mixture of evoo, fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic, s & p. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the bottom of the refrigerator. I'll share the rest of the recipe with you once I get home and see it for myself! With the olive tapenade it really makes a spectacular dish....I've paired with parmesan mashed potatoes and swiss chard and shallots sauteed in evoo with a little tamari sauce.

                    1. re: 280 Ninth

                      Okay I have called the 2 places where I would be able to buy these cuts of meat and it seems I only have access to colby short ribs ($55.00) for 5 16 ounce pieces or veal osso bucco which is $86.00/pound!!! What do you think??? Short ribs?

                      1. re: gastronomy

                        So the good news for you in all of this is that I'm recommending lamb shanks and not veal...lamb shanks should run you under $10/lb.!

                        1. re: 280 Ninth

                          I know but I cant find them :( I live in the Bahamas and I am very limited to these kinds of cuts.....

                          1. re: gastronomy

                            That's a good trade off though (living in the Bahamas :)

                    2. re: gastronomy

                      Some of the rest of us want to Lamb Osso Bucco recipe please.

                    3. I suggest this short rib recipe often because it is very easy and delicious!


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: valerie

                        I made this very recipe the first time I made short ribs. It was so easy and it knocked my husbands socks off!.

                      2. I love braised short ribs. Take your time searing them, give them really good color. I use the regular things, carrots, celery onions. you decide if you want it in the dish or if you want the broth clean, which would require you make a bouquet garni. Things that I think make a differance, use dark broth, good stuff, either beef or veal, use demi glace to hit it if you have access to it. Good strong red wine, not pinot noir, not strong enough. Then lastly, I like to add some cognac to the stew. I also add a good amount of whole coriander.

                        When the meat is done, thicken the broth by boiling it down, don't use the butter/flour thing to thicken, not as good. If you have time, cook it then let it sit in the fridge overnight, skim the fat off in the morning and then heat it up again. Oh yes, last thing, I think the oven is the way to braise rather than on the stove top. Served with mashed potatoes, polenta, risotto or pureed parsnips.

                        Hope that helps. Tell me if you want more details. I have already made it 4 times this winter.

                        1 Reply
                        1. My current favorite short rib recipe is from Ana Sortun's book Spice. They're glazed with tamarind, so very rich and tangy. Great comfort food during cold weather. I think they would be good with polenta or some similar starch.

                          Another easy braise is lamb shanks, lots of online recipes available. I think my basic I make mine with Italian herbs, plenty of aromatics (carrots, celery, onions) and red wine, braised slowly until tender. They're always a big hit.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: cheryl_h

                            What else is in the glaze besides tamarind? I love tamarind!

                            1. re: pescatarian

                              I don't have the book at hand, but I think it has balsamic vinegar as well. I can look it up tonight when I'm home. I'm nuts for tamarind too.

                              1. re: cheryl_h

                                If you don't mind, that would be great. I only recently started eating meat again, but short ribs were one of my faves when I was younger and I'm thinking of making them for my Oscar fest.

                                I even like eating tamarind by itself. I found it once at a place on Granville Island in Vancouver in block form all stuck together. You had to pick out the seeds, but it was delicious.

                                1. re: pescatarian

                                  This is a reworded version of the recipe:
                                  8 beef short ribs, about 6-8 lbs
                                  4 Tbs kosher salt
                                  1 large onion, peeled and rough chopped
                                  1 whole carrot, peeled and rough chopped
                                  1 bay leaf
                                  1 cup balsamic vinegar
                                  1 cup medium-bodied non-oaked white wine
                                  1/2 cup packed brown sugar
                                  1 Tbs chopped garlic
                                  2 Tbs tamarind paste

                                  Season ribs generously with kosher salt. Lay in heavy roasting pan. Scatter onion, chopped carrot and bay over ribs. Combine vinegar, wine, brown sugar and garlic in bowl. Pour over ribs. Add 1 cup hot water to tamarind paste to dissolve. Add to roasting pan. Liquid should come 3/4 way up sides of ribs. Add more water if necessary.

                                  Cover tightly with double layer of foil. Place in oven and braise at 350F for 3 to 3.5 hours until ribs are very tender. Remove ribs, strain liquid and allow to cool. Defat liquid, removing any tamarind seeds.

                                  In large pan, bring liquid to boil, add short ribs. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until they begin to glaze - about 20 - 25 minutes. Sauce should thicken after about 15 minutes. Keep warm. Turn ribs over in glaze to coat uniformly.

                                  I followed the recipe above and the results were finger-licking good. If I were to do it again, I would brown the ribs before starting, I think they would have better texture that way and I'm surprised Sortun doesn't specify this.

                                  1. re: cheryl_h

                                    Thanks for posting this recipe, cheryl h. It made my mouth water!! The glazing part at the end sent me over the edge...Hope to try it soon.

                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                      You're welcome CL - hope you like it as much as I do.

                                    2. re: pescatarian

                                      Time to change your Chowhound handle, pescatarian. You're misrepresenting yourself. :-)

                                      1. re: FlavoursGal

                                        Haha, I know when I joined several months ago it was accurate, but it's been 6 months now since it has ceased to be - I would change it, but I don't think that's possible?

                              2. Yes I love living here- although it increasingly difficult to get your hands on certain things.... Lamb shanks being one of them! Short ribs however i can get! :)

                                1. I agree with lamb shanks. I find short ribs can be a bit hit or miss for some people, but I have never had a problem with lamb shanks. So good, so easy, and so impressive.

                                  1. I was shopping online at CHEFS catalog online the other day and copied this recipe from their website (even shows a picture, YUM!):


                                    1. Gastronomy, given what I've read above, I'll pass along the braised bacon recipe, since you can't get lamb shanks where you are...don't know what is the temp in Nassau and vicinity, but's about 19 degrees F in nyc right now!

                                      Between this recipe and the short ribs you should be ok....

                                      Braised bacon pasta sauce recipe:


                                      For braised bacon:

                                      3/4 to 1 lb. slab bacon, in one piece
                                      1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
                                      1 stalk celery, peeled and coarsely chopped
                                      1 onion, thickly sliced
                                      1 bay leaf, crumbled
                                      1/2 cup white wine
                                      1/2 cup vermouth
                                      1/2 cup chicken stock

                                      For roasted tomato sauce:

                                      2 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes (I use San Marzano), juice reserved
                                      1 medium onion, sliced
                                      6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
                                      1 bay leaf

                                      pecorino romano cheese, grated (recipe says parmesan is a no-no, but I disagree)


                                      BACON: Place bacon in a wide pot and cover with cold water. Set over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until bacon softens a little, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse.

                                      Place bacon fat side up in baking dish (1 qt. size is recommended but I've used larger w/o problems). Add carrot, celery, onion, and bay leaf, and moisten w/wine, vermouth, and chicken stock. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cover with parchment paper and then with foil, dull side out, transfer to oven, and bake until "melting tender" about 2 1/2 hours (and every living creature w/in smelling distance is at your door...).

                                      Uncover baking dish, raise heat to broil and leave in for 3-5 min. Let bacon cool, then strain liquid and reserve for another use (I've used liquid w/ kale and collard greens).


                                      Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

                                      Halve tomatoes and place in roasting dish in one layer. Drizzle w/olive oil, pour in a little reserved tomato liquid, and roast for about 15 minutes, until tops are slightly charred. Coarsely chop the tomatoes w/ a dough cutter in the roasting dish (I've used a spoon).

                                      According to the recipe, heat 3 Tbl. of olive oil in 12 inch skillet (I use a wide-brimmed All Clad pot) and sautee onions about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in garlic, pepper, and bay leaf. When onions soften, stir in tomatoes and a little more olive oil.

                                      Combining bacon and tomatoes:

                                      Cut bacon into small-ish strips, about one inch (don't get crazy, bite-sized pieces), and brown in 12 inch skillet. Add to tomatoes. Stir together.

                                      Make pasta separately.

                                      I've added fresh chopped basil and parsley to this, and served with green salad and a very hearty red wine (syrah, usually).

                                      The aroma of this dish is usually sufficient to wow the in-laws et al. The S.O. will renew vows on the spot, I guarantee it. If not, demand something extravagant.

                                      Best of all, enjoy it, whatever you make...I hope you love the pleasure of serving a good meal as much as I do.

                                      And who knows...maybe we can do a home exchange, and you can make lamb osso bucco in Manhattan and I can try a local dish in the Bahamas.....food for thought, as they say.....

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: 280 Ninth

                                        That really sounds amazing...... I ended up buying the short ribs yesterday (before i saw you posted this great recipe) and im a little annoyed because I forgot that a new food store opened up (a very big deal around here) and since i forgot i did not call yesterday when i was looking for the lamb shanks- low and behold i went today and of course they were there- ready to be cooked!!!!! hmmmmph!!!! Anyhow i am about to start braising the short ribs (i hope they are good) but if you could post the lamb shank recipe i would love to try it next week..... wish me luck!!!! :) By the way i love manhattan!

                                        1. re: gastronomy

                                          I hope the ribs turn out great, and just hold onto the braised bacon recipe for some other time....I'll email you the lamb osso bucco recipe when I'm home again.

                                          Manhattan is a great place to be, and with the availability of resources, to cook....not quite as good as sf and vicinity, but still very good!