Balsamic & Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Parsnip Puree

(SERVES 6)

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (http://smittenkitchen.com/book/)

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So, so, so worth the effort! If you're smart, you'll cook for 6 but only invite 3...

Ingredients for SHORT RIBS

2 Packages (6 pieces, 5-6lb total) bone-in Randall Lineback Short Ribs, room temperature - MUST be properly thawed, see under INFO, at top of page
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bottles dark beer, such as dark alE
2 to 3 cups beef stock
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional- for garnish)

Ingredients for PARSNIP PUREE

2 pounds parsnips (about 6 medium) peeled, sliced into medium-sized chunks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish or prepared horseradish sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Preparation for SHORT RIBS

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2) Place the short ribs on a large jellyroll pan and season generously with salt and pepper, making sure to coat all sides.
3) Heat a large Dutch oven (7 to 8 quart pan) over high heat, and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, sear the short ribs on all sides, in batches. Don't rush or overcrowd the pot - this is where you build the flavor of the short ribs. Transfer the browned ribs to the jellyroll pan and repeat with the remaining ribs. This process will take 10-15 min per batch.
4) Once all the ribs have browned and removed from the pot, turn the heat down to medium-high heat. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and fat. Add the onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until translucent and a little brown, about 10 minutes.
5) Add the garlic cloves and saute for 3 minutes more.
6) Add the tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes, until thickened.
7) Add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and beer, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
8) Return the browned ribs to the pot. Try to arrange them with their meatiest sides facedown. If you have too many ribs and limited space, stand them up, with the bones vertical.
9) Add enough beef stock just to cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then turn off heat. Cover the pot tightly with foil, then with a lid.
10) Bake for 3 hours, or until the meat can easily be pierced with a knife or pieces can be torn back with a fork. Remove from oven and let the ribs rest for 15 minutes, uncovered. If needed, skim excess fat off the top.

To Serve:

There are two ways to finish this dish. The first is the simplest route from oven to table; the second provides a little more texture and elegance.

OPTION 1:
Simply serve the short ribs as they are, with a side of the parsnip puree (SEE BELOW). Garnish with parsley.

OPTION 2: (our favorite—and worth the additional steps)
1) Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Remove ribs from the pot and spread out on a large jellyroll pan. Roast them for 15 minutes, or until the edges start to crisp.
2) Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid into a small saucepan and simmer it over high heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has been reduced to a third. The sauce should be fairly opaque and a little thick.
3) Arrange ribs on a serving platter and drape them generously with half the sauce. Serve with parsnip puree (SEE BELOW) and a side of remaining sauce. Garnish with parsley.

Preparation for PARSNIP PUREE

1) In a large heavy pot, combine the parsnips with enough cold water to cover. Place over moderately high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
2) Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes, then drain.
3) Purée hot parsnips, butter, heavy cream, horseradish until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

RETURN TO RECIPES