Braised short ribs -- do you leave the bones in?
OK, yet another short rib question... I love, love, love braised short ribs (I use the Daniel Boulud recipe). BUT... I never know whether I should be trying to serve them with the bones in or out. The problem I encounter is that after hours of braising, the meat has reduced in size and is so tender that it literally falls off the bone. In the process of transferring the meat from pot to plate, I usually lose the bone, in which case the piece of meat is rather unattractive. Now this is not such a big deal when it's just me and my husband. But when I serve to guests, I end up trimming the meat to remove the cartilege and give it a nicer shape.
Also, I prefer the English cut because I like the larger piece of meat on the single bone. When I've used the flanken cut, I find it even harder to serve an attractively plated meal because once the 3 or 4 bones come out, the meat has too many "holes".
What do you do? Is there any way to keep the bones in place?
I made my favorite short ribs last night...well, at least a simplified version of them. Goin's recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques in L.A. The recipe's here on Chowhound somewhere or you can get it from an NYTimes search. They're flavored with balsamic vinegar, port wine and red wine. Served with horseradish (she uses sour cream, I use yoghurt which I think is just as good). These are by far the most delicious short ribs I've ever eaten...sort of tangy with a hint of sweetness and sourness. Also she serves them with swiss chard which I didn't have last night. She also puts plastic wrap over the pot, then foil and then the lid and bakes in oven. I skipped the wrap and foil and just braised in oven for 3 hours. Oh la la!
When I serve braised short ribs, I don't prepare individual plates, but serve all together on a serving platter. Invariably one or two fall off the bone, but many still hang on. Guests can select which one they want, so the issue of bone in or out is up to them. Sometimes the rib meat falls off the bone, upon being served, which also impresses people - makes em look as tender as they are. Falling-off-the-bone tender, I think they call it.
Also just to note that the Balsamic Short Ribs recipe in Cooking Light (available on line) is outstanding. Always gets rave reviews.
I would prefer to serve them on the bone but I find it pretty much impossible. I braise 'em slow and low for around 5 hours. The meat it so soft I need a wide spatula to lift it out of the braise - otherwise they fall apart. Most of the connective tissue melts away into the braising liquid. I will sometimes end up with a few excess fatty parts that can be easily trimmed before serving - I basically just pull it off with tongs. MMMMM, just made a batch last weekend.
If you were serving these to me, I would not thank you for trimming off anything to make them look nice. Sounds like you've got a good grasp of how to cook them so they practically melt, in which case whether the bone's in or not is hardly an issue. The first duty of any dish, IMO, is to TASTE GOOD, and that is best served by cooking meat with the bone in, and rendering the cartilage edible instead of removing it.
I can't post MY favorite recipe because it's one of Rick Bayless's, and therefore copyrighted. Here's my second-favorite, which is pretty damn good:
Cider-Braised Short Ribs
* 3 to 4 pounds short ribs, cut in 3-inch pieces
* salt and pepper
* 1/2 cup flour
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 cups apple cider
* 1 1/2 cups beef broth
* 1 teaspoon dried leaf rosemary
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 cup baby carrots
* 1 cup sliced celery
Heat oven to 300°.
Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper; toss with the flour.
In a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot, heat oil (over 2 burners, if possible) over medium heat. Add the short ribs in 1 layer. Cook, turning frequently, until well browned. Add cider, beef broth, herbs, coarsely chopped onion, and the garlic. Bring to a boil.**
Cover and bake for 3 1/2 hours. Remove short ribs from the pan and strain the broth into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Skim off excess fat; bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered. Add the remaining onion, celery, and carrots to the broth. Cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Return the short ribs to the broth and heat through.
**This was how the recipe was written, but I very much prefer to brown the vegetables and cook them with the meat, and then mash and blend them into the broth to make the gravy, which can be thickened or not. I also use just one stalk of celery, use regular-sized peeled carrot, and cut all the vegetables into fairly large chunks.
re: Will Owen
If a previously published recipe is available on the web, you may post a link to it here. You may not copy, verbatim, and then post here any recipe subject to copyright. You may, however, copy the ingredients list of any previosly published recipe and post here, TOGETHER with preparation instructions that are written in your own words.
Not sure which cut is which but mine usually have 3-4 bones, each the size of half a thumb in them
I have only ordered short ribs once in a resto. It was one of our usual haunts and the owner had a couple of servings leftover from the night before. Major yippeeeee from Jfood. She srved it without the bone and this was the first time I have seen boneless short ribs as i normally serve with the bona at home. That being said i truly enjoyed just slowly slicing that succulent meat with no worries about the knife hittingthe bone at just the wrong angle and sending the bone into my, or my dinner companion's, lap. They were perfect without the bone.
After they are braised, as you mentioned the bone just falls off. I usually de-bone each "filet" prior to freezing and it is about as simple a task as you will have prior to serving. If you do not want toperform in front of the guests, merely take the bones out before they arrive and place the "fillets" back in the sauce. Works very well.
As to your question about keepingthe bones in place. I always have a couple of floaters no matter how hard i try. Just happens.