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Braised short ribs presentation for capital "C" Company

  • c
  • cimui Mar 3, 2009 08:47 AM

Poll: When you serve short ribs or any other braise to Company (the kind of guests you'd dig out the good china for) do you include the veggies from the braise?

When I make this for close friends and family, we eat it all -- and then we lick our plates. I don't recall being served braised veggies with the meat at restaurants, though. What do fancy folks do?

If it matters, I think I'll be serving the short ribs over soft polenta with yet-to-be-determined veggie sides (so any suggestions for those would be welcome, too).

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  1. I really don't consider the vegetables that have cooked for hours in the braising liquid to be any longer edible. They've "given their all" IMO. That doesn't answer your question completely and it IS just MY opinion. But if *I* were at your house, I'd have seconds on the ribs and eat enough of those vegetables so you wouldn't mind my taking extra meat :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      I agree - I always strain them out, and then reduce the sauce.

      1. re: c oliver

        C, i'd give you as much meat as you wanted and hoard the veggies for myself! thanks for the opinion. =)

      2. I would use the braised aromatic veggies -- they are too good to throw out. Do you have an immersion blender? A few hits with your wand can break up the big pieces and then thicken the sauce. I don't know how much effort you want to put into a frou-frou presentation, but you could pipe or spoon the polenta in a circle surrounding the shortibs -- this will trap the sauce/gravy in the middle and not spread all over the plate, and will show off the polenta rather than covering, hiding, and diluting it. Asparagus is coming into season where I am -- a few stalks draped over with the tips pointed out could make a nice contrasting color contrast. So could thin carrots, especially if you could find some yellow or purple ones to roast along with the more common orange ones. I love peas, Chinese pea pods, or those sweet peas in the little shells with gravy and mashed potato dishes, so no reason they wouldn't work with polenta.

        Do you braise your shortribs covered the whole way to maximize tenderness? Or do you uncover at the end to develop a caramelized crust on the top layer?

        5 Replies
        1. re: nosh

          oh, these are great ideas, nosh. strain, blend the veggies, return to broth, reduce....

          also like the presentation suggestions. asparagus i have, but i'll see if i can find some pretty carrots at the market.

          i've always braised the short ribs covered the entire time, but i'm open to suggestions!

          1. re: nosh

            My immersion blender broke and I haven't replaced it yet so I puree in the food processor. It works but is a lot more work. But, it is great sauce, over any starch.

            1. re: nosh

              I'm all for blending the veg into the sauce except that if presentation is an issue the color of the sauce can lighten significantly and turn from a rich dark looking sauce into something that is a bit less visually appealing.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                ooh, i hadn't thought of that. good point.

                1. re: cimui

                  I learned from experience that a beautiful brown sauce can turn orangey pretty quickly.

            2. If the veggies are still intact - like carrot chunks or mushrooms - I'd serve a couple of presentable ones along with the meat. But even so, I wouldn't really consider them vegetables - more like part of the meat. If they've disintegrated or are in small pieces, I would hold them back. You want the sauce to look nice and not be full of lumpy bits. And it gives you something to eat for lunch then next day.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Nyleve

                the "something to eat for lunch the next day" argument is a strong one... i hear people complain about mushy veggies all the time on this board, but i personally love them. =)

              2. When I make brisket, I wait until about the last hour (of approximately 4 hours cooking time) to add the carrots. This way they soften up but don't turn to mush. And I add a LOT of carrots -- people seem to really like them with the brisket.

                2 Replies
                1. re: valerie

                  i'd love eating your brisket with carrots, too, valerie. sounds truly delicious. i feel so shallow for asking: how do you serve them attractively?

                  1. re: cimui

                    Not so sure it's actually attractive, but it is delicious! For Passover which is coming up, I cook it in 1 or 2 LC dutch ovens, depending on how many people there will be. After I cool and slice it, I clean out the dutch ovens and then carefully layer the meat and the sauce, plus the carrots and onions. (I, too, take some of the carrots and onions and puree them with an immersion blender to gift the sauce some heft.) The whole thing goes into the refrigerator and then served the next day.

                    I never thought of it as being attactive -- it would scare vegetarians to see all the meat -- but it always get raves from the crowd!

                2. I always include the veggies. They still have a lot of flavor. And I top with a gremolata- minced parsley, and zested orange & lemon. Sprinkle a little on top of each portion on the plates. It really brightens the meal & makes a pretty presentation.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tall sarah

                    this sounds very pretty. would you use gremolata over the braise, even if you served with asparagus, carrots or other brightly colored vegetables?

                  2. I have a Jardiniere recipe set aside for the day that I want a really impressive short rib recipe - http://www.epicurious.com/articlesgui...

                    Even if you like your recipe, you might want to take a look at her technique - she uses 2 sets of veggies - one that's used during the braise and then strained out, and then a perfectly diced batch that's just sauteed to soften and added to the strained sauce.

                    There are some other nice serving ideas to look at.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: cyberroo

                      I understand the gourmet arguments for introducing the new vegetables, perfectly cooked al dente. But anyone that tells me they taste anywhere near as succulent as the mushy, gravy-soaked overcooked ones that have been braising for hours in the flavorful liquid just favors style over substance.

                      1. re: nosh

                        Well, I would never describe myself that way - style over substance. I just think those vegetables have had all the flavor cooked out of them. I don't want all vegetables to be crunchy but to me there's huge difference between soft and mushy and those would definitely be the latter. And a final point is that they are grease/fat soaked and that again is almost a yuck factor for me. But I will defend to my death everyone's choice of what is succulent and what isn't. I don't want to live in a world where we all like the same thing :) Soooo if I don't label others, then I hope they won't label me.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          c oliver, I can understand your concerns. But the OP said that when she usually serves the braised veggies for her family and close friends, they lick the plate clean. So I'm trusting that they aren't a fat-laden mess, but rather tender and remarkably tasty, even though admittedly a bit played.

                          OP wants to put an impressive dish out for company. She likes the results of her prior attempts, and apparently so do her family and close friends. And I'm speaking from experience -- numerous potroasts and briskets where those tender, soggy, flavored indeed blessed veggies are even better spooned over the mashed potatoes than the meat. So I will trust her taste and experience. Better by far to do it the way she is used to than try something new and add several steps when company is coming. She asked about presentation -- spend the extra minutes piping the polenta and arranging the highlighted asparagus or carrots and making it look good. I'm sure her guests eat at restaurants all the time -- take advantage of the home court and give them something rich and succulent and delicious.

                          1. re: nosh

                            >>>But anyone that tells me they taste anywhere near as succulent as the mushy, gravy-soaked overcooked ones that have been braising for hours in the flavorful liquid just favors style over substance.<<<

                            I'm not disagreeing with the OP or your preference. I was saying that I find it offensive when you say that *I* favor "style over substance."

                    2. If I have made them the day before I strain the vegetables (and the pancetta I use) into the fat separator and then put the strained solids back into the pot and puree with the separated sauce and then let the short ribs sit in the sauce overnight in the fridge. If I am serving them the same day I prepare them I usually serve the vegetables with the polenta, mashed potatoes or rosa marina.

                      1. Thanks, chefs! I appreciate all these disparate opinions very much -- they give me a lot to think about. I'm totally crappy with the camera, but if I don't feel too geeky about it day of, I'll try to snap a few pix and show you our collective creation.

                        xo

                        1. You have to select one of the two following:

                          1. Carefully plate the polenta, the rich brown de-fatted strained and somewhat reduced sauce, the ribs, and the braised vegetables (that were separated when the ribs came out of the oven or off the stovetop), top with the gremolata or just parsley. This alternative is based on your past expeiences with guests who licked their plates clean. You can fail here only if your class "C" guests are substantially different than your close friends and family.

                          2. Save the vegetables for you tomorrow: reheated with left over meat (if any) or pureed in a soup. Then plate the polenta, the rich brown de-fatted strained and somewhat reduced sauce, the ribs, and the blanched, bright green al dente asparagus, topped with the gremolata or just parsley. Can't fail here. An alternative to the asparagus could be a light bright green salad lightly dressed - that (I've now learned) can be served after the main.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            that would be the gorgonzola polenta :-)

                            short ribs braised in wine is one of god's gifts. blending the broken-down veg into the sauce is a good idea. don't get too fine with the straining.

                            picking the right wine to go with this classic dish is a subject for serious debate. best dealt with after the first two glasses of whatever you poured.

                            i hate winter but wine-braised short ribs with gorgonzola polenta makes up for a lot of shortcomings.

                          2. Do you mind sharing your "lick the plate clean" recipe for braised short ribs?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Main Line Tracey

                              of course not. mario batali is my starting point:

                              http://www.mariobatali.com/recipes_sh...

                              often, i add a splash of bourbon + about 1 tbs brown sugar, up the number of carrots, since we eat them. i usually leave out the oregano since someone i cook for frequently doesn't like it. if i'm not cooking for anyone on a diet, i often reduce the sauce with a little bit of butter (without removing the veggies, first).

                              it's a beautiful recipe.

                            2. I put baby carrots in at the end just to soften them up. They make a nice presentation when you lay a few of them over the short ribs.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: calpurnia

                                I like that idea quite well indeed.

                              2. just made 5# this weekend. He first took 3# of creminis and made a duxelle. then carrots, celery, onions and jfood's favorite Besh recipe. seared, and then into a 275 oven for four hours. Next day fantastic.

                                The mushroom were perfect addition to the ribs after the braise (creminis hold up nicely to this method) and the sauce. The carrots onions and celery were a small dice so they basically melted away.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jfood

                                  I love the "sound" of this. But here I have to pay $4/# for mushrooms so I kinda cringe over $12 for the mushrooms.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Costco had Boneless Short Ribs at $4/lb and then when jfood walked by the mushrooms he saw $4 for a 4# box.

                                    His total cost of 4-5 pounds of braised short ribs, enough for 6 servings was <$40.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      Wow, that's a terrific price for mushrooms! If we didn't have to shovel two feet of fresh snow this morning, I'd be tempted to head to Reno. Thanks, jfood.

                                2. For the most part, I dice the veggies pretty fine. About the only thing left recognizable is some carrot. A little texture differential is a plus, but they have pretty well cooked out. But I like the way they look in the brown goo,. Then I serve over mashed potatoes. Noone ever complains