Thursday, February 8, 2007

Korean-Style Short Ribs

Remember the times when people kept blogs like their diaries -- the times when the posts were written for the purpose of the person writing them, and not for hundreds of visitors? It seems so long ago that by the time Beyond Salmon was created, that's not what food blogs were all about. Don't get me wrong -- writing for myself is not my cup of tea, and if it wasn't for all you delightful readers, I don't think I could have the will power to maintain this blog. But sometimes I want to take some notes for no other purpose than to remind me how to make a particular dish the next time, and I don't have any better place to do that than here. So although this post is just for me and it has no pictures or much of a story, you are welcome to listen in.

My favorite meal at CIA was at St-Andrews cafe (the most casual of the student-run restaurants). And my favorite dish there was Korean-Style Short Ribs. Short Ribs are one of my favorite braising cuts due to their large grain and loads of fat. I've had my share of really awesome short ribs both in restaurants and at home, but the ones at CIA really knocked my socks off. Luckily, the chef was willing to give me the recipe and I finally got around to trying it. Couple of things made me worry about the outcome of the dish:
  • I had to scale the recipe down from 20 Lbs of ribs to a more reasonable size.
  • I had to figure out what to do in all the places that said "as demoed by the chef" -- this was a recipe written for student line-cooks, who were going to get a demo on what to actually do.
  • The use of onion and garlic powder and powdered ginger seemed strange to me. I don't actually have any of these things and didn't want to buy them just for this dish. So I threw in a bunch of fresh garlic and ginger.
  • I didn't have veal stock and substituted store bought beef stock and a little store bough chicken stock. As Julia Child used to say -- you are alone in the kitchen, so who is ever going to know!
  • The idea of a slurry (stock mixed with flour) to thicken the braising liquid before adding it to short ribs sounded strange to me.
  • Braising uncovered with just a parchment paper on top of the ribs sounded even stranger. I thought you always want to create a tight seal.
  • I wasn't sure how much salt to use since my stock was already seasoned and the liquid reduces so much during cooking.
  • The temperatures were given for convection oven and mine is a regular one.
Well, in spite of my worries. It all worked like a charm, and the ribs were simply fabulous -- spoon tender and succulent. The only things I'd change to make them a little closer to the version I had at CIA are to reduce amount of carrot and up the soy sauce.

Here is roughly what I did.

Serves 6-8

For the sauce:
10 cups stock (I used mostly beef and a little chicken)
Slurry -- 2/3 cup flour and 1 1/3 cup stock, whisked really well until no lumps remain

For the ribs:
6-8 Lb bone-in short ribs, trimmed
Flour for dredging
Salt and pepper

3 large onions, large dice
3 large carrots, large dice (next time use 1-2)
5 celery sticks, large dice
1/2 Lb brown sugar
2/3 cups rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce (next time use 1 1/4 cup)
2/3 cup mirin
1/4 cup chopped ginger
6-8 chopped garlic cloves
  1. Preheat the oven to 475F.
  2. Bring stock to a boil, stir in the slurry, simmer for 1 hour, skimming as needed.
  3. Season ribs with lots of pepper and just a little salt. Dredge in flour and roast in a large pan in the middle of the oven turning every 10 minutes until brown on all sides.
  4. Add onions, carrots, and celery to ribs and continue to roast until veggies are brown, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add brown sugar and cook until sugar melts and caramelized with mirepoix, about 15 minutes.
  6. Turn down the oven to 275F.
  7. Deglaze the pan with vinegar, mirin, and soy. Add ginger and garlic. Add the thickened stock and cover the pan with a piece of parchment. Braise for 5 hours. Turn ribs after 3 hours to help cook more evenly.
  8. Cool ribs in sauce for at least 1 hour. Remove ribs and chill. Strain sauce, chill overnight and degrease. To serve, warm up ribs with sauce in a pan on low heat.

12 comments:

K&J said...

Filling in the blanks and making the recipe "yours" is the part I find so exciting about cooking. I'm going to have to give the recipe a try...I've been craving some braised beef latley.

-J

Terry B said...

This. Sounds. Heavenly. A question, though--I see short ribs in recipes all the time, but the ones I see in the store are unpromising squarish little blocks of fat, bone and meat. Is that indeed the cut or should I be shopping in higher end markets?

Helen said...

Hi Terry,

Those rectangular boxy looking things are indeed the cut. Short ribs have a big flat bone and a ton of fat. I usually trim the top layer of fat and connective tissue before cooking. The fat between the grains of meat is the good stuff -- after a 5 hour braise, it melts away and make the meat incredibly mouthwatering. Just plan on A LOT of weight per person -- I'd guess about a pound. At least half of the weight will get discarded due to bone and fat.

Cheers,
-Helen

Anonymous said...

Helen: A half a pound of brown sugar seems like a lot of sugar. Do you think you could cut this way down? Wish you had included photographs. Your photos are always great.

Bearzie

Helen said...

Well, it's an awful lot of sauce, so you need a lot of sugar. You don't end up eating all of it because a lot of it gets strained out with the veggies. Feel free to cut it down and use less. I am sure, it will still be a great dish.

Cheers,
-Helen

Nina said...

I know exactly what you mean about just wanting to write down notes for yourself... Sometimes just writing in complete sentences for my blog seems like an effort. :)

Though I do confess to using the private tag in my wordpress options occasionally to put something on my blog that only I can see when I'm signed in, so that I can remember it and all my food notes are kept on my blog (that is, in one place).

Mike said...

I attended the Italian Boot Camp last year, and like you, my favorite meal at the CIA restaurants was the short ribs. I'm delighted to see your recipe.

I'm a little surprised to see the recipe call for a flour slurry, since everything I did at the CIA was using corn starch slurry. One other question: if using ground ginger, how much should I use based on the original CIA recipe?

Mike F.

Helen said...

Hi Mike,

Great to hear from a fellow boot camper :) Oh yikes, I don't think I have the original recipe any more. Just give it a liberal sprinkle of ginger and you'll be fine.

Cheers,
-Helen

megan said...

I was looking for an asian short rib braise and came across your site - I am trying this for some friends tomorrow. I also found an Emeril recipe for asian-style braised short ribs also, only he doesn't brown the meat, which concerns me. In your opinion, would this work?

megan said...

I was looking for an asian short rib braise and came across your site - I am trying this for some friends tomorrow. I also found an Emeril recipe for asian-style braised short ribs also, only he doesn't brown the meat, which concerns me. In your opinion, would this work?

Helen said...

Hi Megan,

Sure, you can make this without browning the ribs, but my guess is that it will be more flavorful if you brown them.

Cheers,
-Helen

Anonymous said...

I ran into your blog by doing a Google search for CIA Boot Camp. Am I glad that I found this!! I have never cooked in my life. I actually had to run out and buy a chef's knife after seeing your technical videos. For my first attempt at cooking I tried this recipe and EVERYONE loved it!! That includes my friend and neighbor whose kids graduated from the CIA. I will continue to follow your blog and learn a lot from you! Thank you! from Brand New to Cooking in NY