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Braising Short Ribs - Cooking Vessel?

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I know this topic may have been beat to deal over the past couple of weeks, but with all the talk about beef short ribs, I'm dying to try them myself. The problem I have is I'm not sure which of my assorted cooking vessels to use. I don't have a dutch oven, or a roaster...so what's the next choice?

By the way, I'm planning on making the tamarind glazed ribs that cheryl h posted here:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36853...

but I'm cutting the recipie in half (only cooking for two).

My choices: (i'm just listing everything I've got that's oven-safe
)Pyrex baking dishes of assorted sizes (square and rectangular)
Round ceramic corning-ware bakeware maybe 1.5 qts and 3 qts? (the tall sided white ones with glass lids)
An oval ceramic cassarole with unglazed inside (2 qts ish?) with ceramic lid
cast iron skillet (10 or 12 inch)
metal cake and brownie pans

I'm not at home right now so I can't double check sizes...but those sound about right.

So...what would you use? Keeping in mind the process specified in the recipie I want to use...with whatever modifications neccessary to make it work with my resources. Any help?

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  1. wawajb, I don't think any of your vessels are suitable for braising the amount of short ribs called for in the recipe. You would need a large roasting pan or a 5-6 litre/quart cocotte or Dutch oven.

    Looking closely at the recipe, however, your best bet would be the roasting pan, since the amount of liquid called for would not be sufficient to braise the meat if a Dutch oven were used.

    You don't have to buy the best roasting pan on the market. I've made wonderful dishes in inexpensive, enamelled aluminum roasting pans.

    2 Replies
    1. re: FlavoursGal

      Oh...sorry, I forgot to mention I was halving the recipie. (edited above) I'm only cooking for two. Would that make any difference? Or should I just put off making this recipie until I've got a roasting pan?

      1. re: wawajb

        A large rectangular Pyrex dish or cake pan should be fine, then. As long as you can fit the short ribs into the dish in a single layer, with space between each short rib (this is important - you want to allow the braising liquid to settle all around the meat), you should be fine. Just reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees if you're using the Pyrex.

    2. I think the rectangular pyrex or the brownie pan (if it's the rectangular one) may work. I've roasted in my brownie pan in the past (the dimensions are approximately 9x13).

      The key is that all the short ribs are all lying flat and that there is room for the veggies to lay alongside them.

      1. I don't see why the 3 qt(ish) Corningware would not work. If you choose to sear the meat before hand in a skillet just be sure to deglaze the pan and add the juices to the braise. For just a small amount it should be fine as long as the meat is not completely submerged (like a stew).
        I use a 3 qt cast iron Le Creuset for two quite often.

        1. wawajib - one thing to remember is that the braising liquid will end up very dark thanks to the tamarind. If you're concerned about staining your pans, consider using a foil liner. I used a roaster (not lined) and deglazed on the stove with a bit of wine at the end. If you use pyrex, you may not be able to do this. May not be important to you but I thought it worth mentioning.

          6 Replies
          1. re: cheryl_h

            That is actually my main problem in trying to figure how to manage this...I love being able to switch back and forth between stove and oven for browning and deglazing and I'm frustrated that I can't do that with anything I've got that will hold the liquid I need to braise. I guess it's just time to bite the bullet...a roaster would be handy anyway I guess.

            1. re: wawajb

              If you are halving the recipe, the 12 inch cast iron skillet should work. This way you can go from stove top to oven. That would be for 4 short ribs, right? In my mind's eye, I see them fitting, with the veggies and the liquid. But, my mind's eye may need to be recalibrated.

              1. re: beetlebug

                In all honesty...I was hoping somebody would tell me I can just use my skillet. It's got a lid even (which I've never actually used) and I tend to use it for everything anyway. So...I'm not a crazy person for trying to use my big cast-iron skillet for a small batch of braised short ribs?

                1. re: wawajb

                  I'd advise you not to do it in uncoated cast iron, wawajb. Cast iron and acidic ingredients do not go well together.

                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                    I know that's the word on the street, and I'm sure somebody can quote me tons of chemical reactions that I don't remember from high school that prove why this is so....and yet, I've found it isn't really an issue. I've caught my boyfriend using my cast iron to make tomato based dishes time after time and haven't noticed any ill effects to my skillet or the seasoning (of the skillet...not the dish). So I've decided that while it may be true, I really don't care. So I may have to do a heavy duty re-seasoning twice a year instead of once a year. I think I can handle that.

                    1. re: wawajb

                      I think it's safer once the pan has been seasoned well.

          2. La crusset is dreamy, but needn't be the end all in braising..
            Sear it in yer cast iron, saute yer veggies then saute then deglaz in yer pan then then throw the whole mess into something oven safe...i've braised in bread pans, brownie pans, cast iron, and nonstick...my favorite method puts the seared meat+cooking liquid and veggies in a 9x13 pan covered with foil in a 300 oven....

            2 Replies
            1. re: sixelagogo

              I bought a 5.5qt Le Creuset yesterday, and dreamy doesn't begin to describe it!

              1. re: azhotdish

                azhotdish:
                I completely agree; my supersweet boyfriend got me one for christmas...I though it was all hype before, i really did, now i'm a total convert...Life really is better with a la crueset pot.

            2. I have the Sortun cookbook as well and have been thinking about making these ribs for quite some time (especially with the snowy weather we're having in the Boston area today).

              Came across your post and am determined to make them this weekend - how did you like them? I've had them at the restaurant once or twice and LOVE them. I've got a "Le Creuset-alike" pan that I think I can use.

              2 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit

                I also tasted them at the restaurant before I got the book, so it's one of the recipes I tried first when the book came out. I love tamarind and I think it's particularly good with rich meats. If you don't like tamarind, you may not like it but this dish is one of the favorites in our house.

                I made a double amount of the recipe in a heavy roasting pan so you don't have to have Le Creuset to make it. BTW I've made many of the other dishes from the book and I'm very happy with the results.

                1. re: cheryl_h

                  Thanks Cheryl! I do have several sizes of roasting pans, so that'll work. And I do like tamarind - I remember after the first time trying the ribs I EMailed the restaurant asking for the recipe (the hostess said that Ana often Emails the recipes if someone asks), but I never got it. So I was thrilled to see it in her new cookbook! And that's for the favorable review on the other recipes - I have a tendency to go back to the same recipes - I've just GOT to pull out the several new cookbooks I bought (because I liked the recipes - duh!), and use the darn things!