In my world of hectic schedules, inclimate weather, and the busy holiday season, I cherish this time in January. It’s a time of relaxation, catching up and cooking for “real”. These dark and lazy afternoons are the perfect recipe for a slow cooked meal shared by friends and family. One of the dishes that evolved from these meals has been recreated into my “other” kitchen at work. This version of braised short ribs is a creation that my wife Christal and I conjured up using ingredients found in our small pantry at home.
Starting with a simple brine using the leftover morning coffee, salt and water, we let them marinate for a few hours. Scavenging the cupboards, we found beef stock, bay leaf, and tollhouse chocolate chips (those were from my wife’s attempt to reenact a Friend’s episode where the secret cookie recipe was from Phoebe’s grandmother “Nestley Tolouse”). We had an onion and a half bottle of wine from the night before which all made it into the pot. It really only involves about twenty minutes of work, but the tough part is the anticipation while they cook. The pay off however, is the savory aromatics that fill our small townhouse, the windows clouded by steam and the rich flavors in every bite that seems to make the cold, wet weather disappear.
This past Christmas, Christal surprised me with a Le Creuset French Oven that I broke out immediately to make these ribs. That night, in the middle of our crazy holiday season, our world slowed down enough to really enjoy this dish we created together….
RECIPE: Mocha Braised Short Ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs short ribs
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
2.5 cups red wine
2.5 cups beef broth
2 ea bay leaves
In a heavy bottom braising pan, season and sear ribs over medium high heat. Remove from pan and add onion and garlic, sauté until translucent. Deglaze with wine, add broth. Add ribs back to the pan and add chocolate and bay leaf. Cover tightly and put in a pre heated 350 degree oven. Braise for 3 hours or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove ribs from liquid and keep warm. Strain sauce and let fat rise to the top to skim. Reduce sauce until it coats the back of a spoon.
Jeff Maxfield, Executive Chef