French Fridays with Dorie: Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port

So it’s Friday again. Time for a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table for French Fridays with Dorie. This week, Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port were on the menu. This was another hearty dish that suited the cold weather.

Short ribs are a relatively new addition to our eating repertoire. Howard has made them several times in the sous-vide contraption he rigged up from old lab parts ordered on eBay. His version is very scientific (that’s what you get when a molecular biologist plays in the kitchen). It involves cooking the browned short ribs, vacuum-sealed with sauce, in a 133-degree Fahrenheit water bath for 72 hours. More on that another time.

Dorie’s version is a low-tech, but equally delicious, version, braised in the oven for a few hours. Short ribs need a slow cook to become tender, but the oven does its magic and the meat become fork tender. It just falls off the bone.

The recipe called for 12 ribs / 9 POUNDS of short ribs to create 6 servings! I’m finding Dorie’s serving sizes to be quite generous. At the market, 8 ribs weighed 4½ pounds, which seemed like enough for our house. I didn’t change anything else in the recipe, just used fewer ribs.

Bella Smells Short Ribs

First, I browned the meat under the broiler. It smelled great, and Bella (the dog) thought so too. Then, I cooked a variety of sauteed vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, and parsnips) along with a bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, rosemary, celery leaves, star anise, and bay leaves) in a whole bottle of red wine (I used a bottle of Australian Shiraz) and some ruby port. After I added the meat and covered it with beef broth, the whole dish needed to bake for three hours.

I left Howard in charge, and I went to the movies to get in a pre-Oscar viewing of The Fighter. The movie mostly takes place in the nearby city of Lowell, but the first date scene with Mark Wahlburg and Amy Adams was filmed in the town where I live, Lexington, including a scene in the theatre where I went to see the movie. It was an enjoyable movie. To me, Christian Bale, as the crack-addicted brother, stole the show.

I’m definitely glad I made this dish the day before serving because there was a lot of fat that solidified when it chilled overnight. Chilling made the step of removing the fat quite easy.

I made a celery root and potato puree from another French cookbook I like. In French, it’s called Purée de Pommes de Terre et Céleri-Rave Lyonnaise, which sounds much fancier. It was a perfect match. The earthiness of the vegetable mash complemented the winey sweetness of the ribs.

The only challenge was that I like my mashed vegetables pure and unadulterated by gravy. The sauce for the short ribs was delicious BUT… it pooled in the center of the plate, polluting the puree, at least, to me. I have the same issue at Thanksgiving when my strategy is to separate the turkey from the mashed potatoes by putting the stuffing in between. That way the gravy which I do like on the turkey and stuffing doesn’t touch the potatoes. I came up with an ingenious solution. I ended up putting the sauce in a cup for dipping, which worked out quite well.

There was lots of extra sauce. Never wanting to waste a good thing, we freezed it in ice cube trays for Howard’s next sous-vide short rib concoction or maybe to throw into a soup or stew.

Dorie recommended garnishing the short ribs with a gremolata with garlic, orange zest, and fresh cilantro. I found the gremolata to be sharp and bitter and, though I tried it the first night, I didn’t use it on the leftovers. Without this flourish, the dish had a very “brown” appearance that called out for something to make it prettier. I didn’t bother, but maybe just some chopped cilantro would have done the trick.

I think this just wasn’t the most attractive dish, which might be why the cookbook’s photo for this recipe was of the raw ingredients. I know that when selecting my own photos this week, they just weren’t very appealing. Anyway…

I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Maybe you’ll even want to cook along with us on Fridays.

As a bonus, here’s the recipe for my accompanying vegetables, if you’d like to try it yourself.

Purée de Pommes de Terre et Céleri-Rave Lyonnaise
From Marlena Spieler’s The Vegetarian Bistro
Serves 6-8

2 pounds all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ stick (4 Tbsp) butter
¼ cup sour cream
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and celery root to the pot and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain the vegetables and mash with a potato ricer (or a hand-held masher). Add garlic, butter, and sour cream and stir until everything is combined well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Posted on 25 February 2011, in French Fridays with Dorie, Winter CSA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. I also was somewhat surprised by the size of the ribs, so i only made a partial portion. Your ribs look like mine when they came out of the oven, so I’m glad I did it right! Yours look amazing!

  2. And I thought you were the smart one in the family. Try a separate plate for your mashed vegetables!!! (-: WIth love, your sister

  3. We loved this recipe. I’m jealous that you live with someone who can rig a sous-vide contraption! I’ve been looking at options and they’re either too expensive or too technical for my post-menopousal brain! That is an excellent picture of the broiled ribs!

  4. Looks delicious! I loved The Fighter, but I’m a Mark Wahlberg fan and generally enjoy just looking at him even if the movie is bad!

  5. Love how Bella knows when something delicious is in your oven…glad you enjoyed :)

  6. I so agree – this was not the most appealing looking dish, but it tasted really good. Your ribs look so juicy. I love your dog Bella!

  7. Thanks for the suggestion to freeze the extra sauce. Love the dog watching the oven.

  8. Your ribs look delicious! Love you dog standing by the
    stove…waiting!! Nice post.

  9. Love the story about the contraption. I work with a lot of chemists and engineers and this SO sounds like something they would do. Great thought to freeze the leftover “sauce”.
    Glad you enjoyed!

  10. I think Howard is cool….whoever can make a sous vide contraption themselves is genius. I liked this recipe too.

  11. These ribs were quite large weren’t they? I like the comparison between the ribs your husband makes and these. I am not sure I want to see how much fat is in these. :)

  12. I love the picture of your dog checking out the oven!

  13. I also enjoyed the photo of Bella ~ how sweet ! Neat info about the movie and your hometown. Nana and I loved the recipe and the timing was perfect for a winters meal. We look forward to repeating this one and I know I want to try my hand at braising more. Nana took the leftover liquid and made a lovely gravy and meatballs, which she also shared with me. Yum and extra credit points to her. Great post !

  14. Smart to let it chill over night. i had a dickens of a time trying to ladle out the fat.

  15. I’d love to see a post about the sous-vide contraption – sounds like a cool experiment. We still have some ribs left, which we’re going to finish tomorrow, and will have a lot of sauce leftover. I’m going to freeze cubes of it, too. I love being able to throw them into dishes that need a little extra flavour.

  16. laughing cos you are right! They did look pretty ugly! Love the pic of your dog! I noticed my neighbour’s dog is hanging around more!

  17. What a great idea to freeze the extra sauce to add to other things. Brilliant. Wish I had done that! Your doggie is so cute standing by the oven door. My dogs certainly noticed how good the house smelled too. Your completed dish looks delicious!!!

  18. Love the picture of your dog smelling the yummy ribs cooking!! This was a fun recipe to try!

  19. I agree, it was a generous portion. But good and great

  20. I like my short ribs small so I had the butcher cut them in
    half; each rib was about 2 inches and they worked well with the
    recipe. We’re a household of 2 so there were plenty of leftovers so
    I’ll freeze the ribs & sauce separately for another dinner
    down the road.

  21. Great post! Although I’m married to an engineer, not a
    scientist, I could really relate to your story! And, Bella is just
    the cutest! We made stroganoff with the leftovers & it was
    really good.

  22. Mmmmmm, gravy on mashed veggies. I’ll take your portion.

  23. Now you have me intrigued by your husband’s sous vide projects! 72 hours? Fascinating!
    I cooked my ribs for two days, also, and I will agree with you on the amount of fat I managed to scrape off the top the next day (nobody missed it, either:)
    I grew up in Serbia where celery root is used often, but I have never had it in a puree. Mixed with potatoes has to taste divine. Thanks for the recipe:)

  24. So…did the pooch get a bite of the ribs? I wouldn’t share with my doggies…too selfish! I too, would like to see the post about the 72 hours sous vide ribs. I love your first shot of the ribs…that’s the money shot!!

  25. Looking forward to reading about the sous vide dishes! I
    wished my short ribs had had more sauce…since you used half the
    amount of beef, I guess I will just double all the rest of the
    ingredients the next time. You’re so right, the gremolata really
    prettied up the dark meat!

  26. Did Bella get a bone? It looks like you may have had a
    larger bone or two for doggies… I just love peeking into your
    cooking library! You can tell a lot about people by what they have
    on their shelves. Great Blog! bonnie

  27. Great post! I liked this recipe, but it took me several days to finally gather all the ingredients I needed (like a dutch oven, for starters!) Where do you find celery root? I’ve never noticed it in the grocery store, and I’m wondering if an upscale market like Whole Foods is the only place I’ll be able to find it?

    • @Francesca This time the celery root came from my winter CSA share, but I have gotten it at a nearby year-round farm stand. I am pretty sure I’ve seen it at Whole Foods too. They carry such a wide variety of vegetables, I think they would have it. It’s an ugly, gnarly, softball-sized vegetable that doesn’t look that promising. It’s typically fall/winter vegetable. I hope you can find one to try out. I love the flavor.

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