If you hate beer, don't let this scare you away from this recipe. It won't taste like beer when it's done. The sauce is sweet and mellow. By the way, does anyone love Costco Short Ribs as much as I do? Have you tried them? They are boneless, but I actually prefer them this way. Short ribs have so much flavor and fat that they turn out fine without the bone. It's also a steal at $6/Lb. Most of the butchers in the area sell bone-in short ribs for $9/Lb. Considering the fact that almost half the weight is the bone, you are talking $16/Lb. For a braising cut, that's rather steep.
I made a few trivial modifications to the original recipe. I add more liquid to avoid flipping the meat during cooking and then reduce the sauce in the end to concentrate the flavor. I also cooked the short ribs a lot longer. About 2 hours that the recipe suggested is never enough to turn the braising cuts of beef fork tender in my opinion. I braised for 3 hours at 300F.
As with all braises, make this 1-4 days before serving. The short ribs will only taste better and de-greasing the sauce will be a breeze once the fat solidifies in the fridge.
Short Ribs Braised in Chimay Ale
Adopted from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
For 6-8 servings
3 Lb boneless short ribs (bone-in is fine, but you'll have fewer servings)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Lb yellow onions (about 5 medium), sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 bay leaves
Up to 2 cups beef or brown chicken stock
Up to 2 cups Chimay ale or similar Belgian-style ale or mellow porter or stout
About 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- Season: Trim most of the fat and connective tissue from the short ribs. Season them liberally with salt. Judy Rodgers suggests that you do this 1-2 days in advance, cover loosely and refrigerate. If you are not going to do this step in advance, I suggest that you brown the short ribs first (see the next step) and then season them.
- Brown: Preheat the oven to 300F. Dry the meat thoroughly on paper towels. Pour olive oil into a large saute pan (I used a 12 inch pan with straight sides) and warm it up over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat in a single layer without crowding and turn down the heat to medium. Cook until the first side is brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and brown on all the other sides. Note that the first side will take the longest. If using bone-in short ribs, you only need to brown the 3 meaty sides. If the meat wasn't seasoned in advance, sprinkle with salt on all sides.
- Braise: If using bone-in short ribs arrange them bone side down. Toss the onions with a little salt and spread on top of the short ribs. Add bay leaves, and equal parts stock and ale until the liquid comes slightly more than half way up the short ribs. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the middle of the oven until the short ribs are fork tender (I would even call it spoon tender :), about 3 hours.
- Chill overnight: Let the short ribs cool in their braising liquid for 2 hours. Then remove the meat from the sauce, and pour the sauce into a tall container. Cool both to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next day the fat will solidify on top of the sauce. Lift it off with a spoon and discard.
- Rewarm: Pour the sauce into a large saute pan and bring to a boil. Boil down over moderately-high heat until it thickens slightly and becomes intensely flavorful, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Add the short ribs in a single layer and cover the pan. Turn down the heat to very low and cook until heated through flipping once, about 15 minutes total.
- Broil: Preheat the broiler. If using bone-in short ribs, place them bone side down. Smear the top with mustard. Set the pan under the broiler (about 5 inches from the top) to brown the mustard, 2-5 minutes depending on the strength of the broiler. Serve with noodles, spaetzle, potatoes, or whatever else strikes your fancy.