Friday, February 22, 2008

Orange Ginger Braised Short Ribs

Driving puts me in this strange meditative state where visions of random ingredients start to appear to me like a mirage. Yesterday, it was oranges. As I was driving to the store to pick up ingredients for this weekend's classes, oranges were dancing in my head. Soon they were joined by spoon-tender short ribs -- that beefiest queen of braising cuts. I was all set to do Lamb Shanks in my Meat class. I had the shopping list written, the recipe ready, and handouts almost finished. I told the stupid short ribs to get out of my head and to take the oranges with them. But they wouldn't leave! This urge, this incredible craving was too hard to ignore.

After a little shopping detour, my house was filled with the heavenly mixture of beef, orange, ginger, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce perfume. This was an improvisation based on CIA's Korean short rib recipe, Ana Sortun's Balsamic Soy Braised short ribs, and Chinese take out orange beef I was so fond of as a teenager. Since I had to write a recipe for my class anyway, I thought I'll post it here for my readers as well.

Orange Ginger Braised Short Ribs

Meat substitutions: 6 bone-in short ribs, or 3 Lb beef chuck cut into 2 inch cubes

Serves 6

6 boneless short ribs (about 3 Lb total)
2 tsp powdered ginger (optional)
2 valencia (also known as "juice") oranges
2 Tbsp canola oil (plus more if needed)
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2.5 cups low-sodium beef stock
1/4 cup flour
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 275F.
  2. Dry the meat well on paper towels, season with salt, pepper, and powdered ginger (if using).
  3. Peel oranges with a vegetable peeler reserving the peel. Juice oranges and measure out 1/3 cup juice. If you don't get enough, add a little water.
  4. Set a 12 inch oven-proof skillet (or dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When the oil gets hot and starts to ripple in the skillet, add the meat in one layer and brown well on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  5. Turn down the heat to medium. Add carrots, onions, and celery. Season with a little salt. Cook stirring occasionally until tender and starting to brown, 10-15 minutes. If veggies are sticking, add more oil.
  6. Add brown sugar and stir constantly until it melts and starts to bubble. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, orange peel, orange juice, fresh ginger, garlic, and 2 cups beef stock. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup stock with 1/4 cup flour in a small bowl. Stir well with a fork until absolutely no lumps remain. Stir this stock/flour mixture into the sauce in the skillet and mix well.
  8. Return the meat to the skillet, add a bay leaf, cover with a round of parchment paper and put in the middle of the oven for 4 hours or until the beef is fork tender.
  9. 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.


~M said...

This looks great, Helen. Do you think it would work to make this in a slow cooker (either with browning the meat first or not)? Thanks!

Helen said...

sure it will work in the slow cooker, but keep in mind that if you don't brown the meat and veggies first, the dish might not be quite as flavorful. it probably won't suffer much though because all the sauce ingredients are very intense.

Boston Chef said...

We know what you mean about craving braised short ribs...

Love your Asian-inspired version with orange and ginger and soy sauce. We always end up going the traditional tomato/vinegar route (which is always great, but we'd like to try something new). We'll have to try this - sounds delicious!

ErinM said...

Hi Helen,

I was inspired after taking your "meat" class a few months ago, and I recently made my first short ribs (not this recipe - yet!). I have never eaten short ribs before, and I was disappointed with how gelatinous-like they were. My guests loved them, but I found them inedible, and am wondering if they needed a bit longer to cook to 'melt' the collagen - it seemed like it was in the middle of starting to dissolve. I am wanting to try your recipe here, but am afraid to make more slimy short ribs! Thanks your your help!

Helen said...

Hi Erin,

My guess is your short ribs just needed to cook longer. They are supposed to be spoon tender when done and should fall apart when you try to pick them up with tongs. The timing in the recipes is always approximate since it depends on the size of your short ribs (bone-in will cook at least an hour longer than boneless). That being said, short ribs do have a big layer of fat next to the bone that can taste very gelatinous even when cooked correctly. That part is usually removed before serving, or you can avoid it all together if you buy boneless short ribs. Of course, the bone does give your sauce more flavor, but it's such a beefy cut that they'll be fine even without the bone.


Nadira said...

Long time no see!

I was glad to see you had this on your web site, since I was having trouble finding my notes from class.

I made this this weekend with chuck steaks from my CSA (not as decadent as short ribs, but still very good), and served it with thai wide noodles (sauteed in a bit of the sauce) and a stir-fry vegetable mix.


I've had my eye on Cool Beans & Grains, so I hope to come to class again soon!