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Short Ribs: Do I.........

braise in beer or wine? Do I also add water or stock? Please help.

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  1. I always start with a bottle of beer and a pint of veal stock - very savory but neutral. The rest of the flavors can go in any direction from there.

    1. What flavors do you like? German would be beer, French red wine, Asian stock with soy. You might also need water but be sure you're braising not boiling. And of course you'll start by browning them well so you have that wonderful flavor from the meat itself. Do you need to know more?

      2 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        It doesn't sound as easy as I thought. Both beer and wine would be good but whichever one I use will chage the other ingredients, won't it? Would I use beef stock instead of water with either one? I know if I put too much liquid in I'm no longer braising but boiling. I don't think I want to do that.

        1. re: mucho gordo

          It's actually easier than you thought - shortribs take well to a bunch of different flavors. You can go water or stock with either wine or beer. Depends on how intense you want your sauce to be. If you want really intense flavor (not to say you necessarily do), reduce wine or beer or stock down before starting the braise so that you don't have too much liquid.

      2. No, its really easy! If you are cooking low and slow in a dutch oven, a very simple short rib recipe is to add some diced tomato, beef stock and wine to the pot, along with whatever veg you like (onion, garlic, carrot,bay leaf, etc). Be creative. Don't cover the meat with liquid. The liquid should come up no more than half way up the meat.

        5 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          It does sound easier than I thought. Thanks
          Red wine, obviously but, any particular kind? sherry, chianti, etc.?

          1. re: mucho gordo

            It won't really matter if you are "winging it"...try not to use something on the sweeter side (unless you intend to play with sweetness). A dryer style blend is nice- Merlot, cab,etc.
            .and remember, if you *really* like it, write down what you did so you can tweak it next time! Have fun.

            1. re: sedimental

              Yeah, this is something I can handle easily. I planned on using the crock pot but I'm getting the impression I shouldn't . Is that so?

              1. re: mucho gordo

                Don't use the crockpot. There will be too much condensation and liquid. Absolutely brown first. You need to think about layers of flavor.

                It's not hard at all, but it does take a little planning.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  I have done it both ways but I prefer the dutch oven. As stated by Jennalynn, the crock pot will add water to the pot and "dilute" the flavors. Sometimes that's fine, but it sounds like you want a really rich hearty flavor bomb with wine and broth. If so, go for the dutch oven.

          2. Brown the ribs, remove, add some veg to sweat and deglaze with some red wine. Add beef stock, veg and ribs, bring to gentle heat and throw in a 190 degree oven for four hours. Remove everything and boil the liquid hard to reduce and thicken.

            Season and you're off to the races.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ernie Diamond

              Yes, Ernie is right...make sure you sear or brown the ribs before braising! Very important step with those delectable ribs!

              1. re: Ernie Diamond

                I always start with a light dusting of flour and browning for texture and flavor development. Follow with the veg and then deglaze. Water, wine or stock or any combination will work. I don't cook a lot with beer but that works too. Beer can add a bitter note if it's not cooked long enough. Basic brasing techniques to just done. If you can hold in the fridge to defat that's good if not a fat separator will work too. I had to do this recently after making lamb shanks which were served straight way. In that case I strained off the liquid, defatted in a separator and then reduced the liquid before adding it back to the dish.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  If you go for a porter you get a wonderful sweetness that's not bitter to me at least.

              2. Here's jfood's short rib recipe which I certainly liked:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602033

                @scubadoo: why the flour?

                13 Replies
                1. re: c oliver

                  The flour creates a really nice fond and good crust on the meat prior to braising. Ina Garten and Tyler Florence both recommend it. I do it with pot roast, but not short ribs. I think you must tie up some fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley sprigs with twine and toss them into the pot. Amps the flavor and fragrance hugely. And I like a container of Pomi chopped or whole San Marzano tomatoes squished by hand in there, too. Red wine braises are great if you strain them and then reduce the liquid in the pot (after skimming grease) by at least half, very rich sauce.

                  1. re: mcf

                    It seems I get the same result (fond and crust) without flour. I generally only coat with flour if it's something delicate like pounded chicken breasts. Or if I want some thickening and there aren't other ingredients that will accomplish that.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I agree with oliver. And as to tomatoes, well they make a wonderful sauce but then we're talking pasta or polenta rather than potatoes.

                      1. re: escondido123

                        I never eat potatoes, polenta or pasta, and my favorite tomato containing braise liquids are from recipes of Ina Garten and Tyler Florence. It ends up as a wonderful layered mixture.

                      2. re: c oliver

                        I kind of don't see the point of the flour dusting either, though I've done it--I've come to conclusion that it's just more work...to thicken a sauce, just leave the lid off or slightly off for a while towards the end of the cooking time...thickens up very nicely.

                        1. re: Val

                          I've never needed a thickener either. As you say, a reduction does the same thing. Easier and I'm all about easier.

                      3. re: mcf

                        My recipe has an overnight marinade that leaves a coating of sugar which leads to a very nice browning effect. So no need for flour to create the browning. Likewise if you need to thicken sauce as the last step, just reduce through heat - evaporate method.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I think your recipe looks really good except for the sugar component, which I'd never use. Minus the sugar, though, I think the overnight marinade is a great idea, one I've seen Tom Colicchio use, too.

                          I never said it needed flour for the browning I just stated what it did in the recipes including it. Sometimes I just brown in the oven on very high heat if I'm being lazy, mostly I brown in oil in the Dutch oven after seasoning and I think that imparts richer flavor. I avoid starches and sugar, so I don't use the flour much, plus I've never seen it add much thickening, which is so easily achieved with reduction as you say and as I posted earlier, and/or pureeing some or all of the veggies in the sauce.

                          I make this stuff so much that I never measure anything, either. Put enough delicious stuff in there, braise, and WAH LAH. :-)

                          1. re: mcf

                            MCF

                            Sorry if you think I was directing anything at you, not at all, i just wanted to address the browning of the meat with a flour coating versus my recipe. Many have commented on the sugar component of my short rib recipe and others have tried cutting the sugar, just a personal preference for each preparer.

                            BTW - Whenever I need a turbo-charge of something to thicken I usually use arrowroot. Is that better for you than flour?

                            Ciao MCF

                            1. re: jfood

                              I wasn't offended, I just have such a blunt style that it often sounds that way, sorry my bad. :-)

                              The only times I use anything to thicken are the rare occasions I make gravy, and the flour involved is so slight it doesn't matter much, or with rhubarb cobblers in summer, when I use a fiber thickener like xanthan gum. I have arrowroot in the house, can't imagine why I bought it, but haven't cracked it open, ever. Thanks for your ideas.

                              1. re: mcf

                                if you do bring out the arrowroot remember to mix with cold water and then add to the hot liquid. do not place the arrowroot into hot liquid.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  Thanks, I've read that. I'll have to find a reason to use it up one of these days!

                      4. re: c oliver

                        Well usually Wondra but it helps with browning so they spend less time on the higher heat of hte stove and more time at the low moist heat of the oven.

                      5. It is a simple process. Just be patient. Dutch oven is best. An no non-sitck cookware. Brown the ribs first over high heat. If you dredge with flour you will have a thicker sauce. Remove ribs from the pan. Reduce the heat. Then add your mirepoix. Soften the veg over the low to med heat-be patient and dont burn the fond. Then add a bit of garlic. Then add tomato paste (make sure you check the sodium level of the tomato paste).
                        If you did not dredge the meat, add some suprefine flour to the veg (wondra) and cook for a minute or two. Carmelize the tomato paste quickly. Increase heat. Deglaze pan with red wine. Add a shot of red wine vinegar. Once pan is deglazed, add ribs back to pan.
                        Now you have some options as to the braising liquid. High quality beef stock is preferable if available. I often use low sodium beef stock in a box for health reasons. But it does reduce the intensity of the flavor. Just keep in mind that your stock will reduce significantly. Be careful with the salt and pepper levels. You can use just about any stock. Chicken, veg, Japanese dashi etc...
                        Then there are the herbs or spices. Depending on your presentation/flavor profile you can add a bouquet garni for French style, dried oregano and thyme for italian style ( if you are adding tomato), and five spice with a dash of soy if going for asian style.
                        Just make sure there is enough moisture. Place pan in the oven, covered, at 325 for two to three hours depending on thickness. Check every half hour and taste the liquid.

                        Remove from oven, add fresh parsley (French), fresh basil (Italian), or a dusting of sansho pepper (Asian)
                        Serve plain (French), over orzo pasta or polenta (Italian) or with rice for Asian style.

                        Then there is the Mexican option. Cook with tomatoes and chiles and shred. Nice tacos!