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Braised short ribs presentation for capital "C" Company

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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?