I am so excited to have the honor of becoming part of a group called the Daring Kitchen. The group posts twice a month: one cooking, one baking. It has an iron chef feel to it. However, instead of a secret ingredient per se , we have secret subject topics. We are usually given the topic and some sample recipes. We are also told by each month’s host what creative liberties we can have.
The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”. I downloaded Ruhlman’s Twenty on kindle. His chapter on braising was pretty informative. I also own Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine by Daniel Boulud. Love that book.
Basically braising is composed of two separate cooking techniques. It is a dry heat followed by a wet heat. The meat is commonly seared or browned on all sides before it is placed into liquid (semi submerged or completely submerged). The pot ( usually cast iron) is then lidded and placed into an oven. The liquid is simmered low and slow around the meat. I was surprised to find during my research that many people had family dishes that call for braising. Living in Florida, I can’t count the number of times over the past week or so I have heard this…”Braising…ha. Ain’t no braising….that’s just some good old southern cookin’ right there…”. :) Got to love it…Actually though, internationally almost every culture has a recipe that includes braising. This is why: The low and slow moist heat along with the acid one typically finds in a braise ( usually alcohol of some kind) allows pretty much any tough cut of meat to become tender. (enter squirrel, road kill whatever… Can you tell I’m still leery of the “southern cookin’ ” ;) ) The end result of braising produces a meat that is so succulent and flavorful I swear all the time you spent waiting for it will be worth it. So recap: 1) spend less money on meat because your using a tougher cut, 2) once in it’s pot in the oven you do nothing to it for possibly hours 3) fall off the bone amazingly wonderful meat with a rich velvety sauce. 4)the longer it sits after it’s cooking time the more intense the flavors ( bring on the left overs!!!!)
Have I convinced you yet? No? Hmm well how about this: Braised Bourbon Pomegranate Molasses Short Ribs. Oh yes. I can not suggest these strongly enough. It’s been awhile so I was so excited about the outcome of a cooking recipe. I LOVED THESE RIBS! You HAVE to make them. They would make a great Sunday family dinner or date night meal. Just about anything…. So excited about these! SO, without further ado………
Braised Bourbon Pomegranate Molasses Short Ribs
2.5 pounds of short ribs, roughly ( I used the “square ones”)
1.5 – 2 tablespoons butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large stalks of celery, chopped
2 medium- large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cups beef broth ( not sodium free)
2/3 cups bourbon
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses – see note *
* I know I know 3rd post 3rd strange ingredient. What can I say.You should find it in the Mediterranean section. The original recipe says you can sub regular molasses. If you do I would add some more of the pure pomegranate juice when you reduce the sauce. Let your taste buds decide how much. You see, pomegranate molasses is not really molasses at all. It’s the consistency of molasses, but in truth it is comprised mainly of very concentrated pomegranate juice. Which means you can make your own if you wish just google it for a recipe. If you use regular molasses you loose the pomegranate flavor and that tartness that is so lovely. I guess that’s ok if you want just planning ole bourbon molasses short ribs ;)
Here’s some pics :)
– Preheat oven to 325F
– Start with a cast iron pot ( looooovvvveee mine) or if you don’t own one any pot that is oven safe, has a lid, and is large enough to hold all your meat without crowding will do.
– Melt butter over medium heat. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Brown ribs on each side. ( I did them in two batches to make sure they weren’t overcrowded and that they got that nice sear.
– Once ribs are browned and removed from the pot. Pour in your veggies. Let them sauté for a good 5-6 minutes.
– Pour in the beef broth, the bourbon, and the soy sauce. Add the juice, the tomato paste, and the dried herbs. Stir to combine. Replace ribs into pot
-Cover and place into oven on middle wrack. Cook 2-2.5 hours.
– When meat is tender remove pot from oven. Place ribs on plate and tent them with tin foil.
– If sauce is too thin, place pot over medium heat and boil until reduced to consistency you desire. You can use some corn starch to help thicken if you feel the need. Once thickened stir in pomegranate molasses. Taste it beforehand and decide how much tart you’d like to add.
– Replace ribs into sauce if you wish, or you can simply plate them ontop of a bed of mashed poataoes or couscous or risotto and serve the sauce as a gravy. Steamed veggies would be a welcome side. ( broccoli with pram cheese? summer squash perhaps?) A nice glass of red wine and some crusty bread to soak up that sauce and you’re in business!
P.s These do not reheat well in the microwave. To reheat place pot on stove on medium/ medium low heat! :)
Recipe adapted from Just Braise
Dream. BAKE. Believe.