Winter Sundays are for Cooking
Is there anything better than the smell of delicious dishes bubbling on the stove, especially on these cold winter days? For me, winter Sundays have always been about cooking. It's not particularly French, nor is is Provençal, but there is something so satisfying about chopping and mixing and stirring and braising that I have decide to include a winter Sunday recipe in my blog.
My recipe for Chipotle-braised beef ribs is the quintessential slow food, winter Sunday recipe. The recipe is loosely based on one that appeared in Bon Appétit magazine a number of years ago. Back then, before subscription cooking boxes, kale and quinoa, Bon Appétit (and Food & Wine, and of course, the beautiful and now defunct Gourmet Magazine) would include recipes people would actually want to cook, rather than pickled rice tabbouleh (featured in the Bon Appétit February 2019 issue.
The braised Chipotle ribs will probably never make it onto a Provençal table as they definitely skew American Southwest, but they are a staple in my cooking repertoire and will be in yours once you try them. There are a number of steps and I won't say they will be ready in a snap - because they won't. In fact, the ribs taste better the next day...and the day after that, making them an excellent choice not only for a family meal, but for a casual dinner party as well. The ribs also freeze beautifully and if you are going to go through the trouble of making them, you may as well make a big batch and freeze half.
6 large, well-marbled, boneless beef chick ribs or 8 bone-in short ribs
3 TBS canola oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut into thirds
1 cup good quality dry red wine
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
8 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 TBS chopped thyme
1 TBS chopped oregano
1 TBS chopped rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, plus 2 tsp adobo sauce
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat the ribs very dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large skillet, heat the 3 TBS of oil until shimmering. Working in batches, add the ribs to the skillet being careful not to crowd them. Brown beef on all sides over medium high heat, you want to get a good sear. As they are seared, remove the ribs with a slotted spoon and place them in a large, oven-proof casserole or baking dish that will hold the ribs in one layer.
Sauté the onion in the skillet until they start to brown. Add the carrots to the pan and continue to sauté briefly. Add the sautéed onions, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and rosemary to the beef ribs.
In a blender, puree the crushed tomatoes, garlic cloves, wine, chipotle pepper and sauce until combined. Add the mixture to the skillet, scraping the bits from the bottom, until heated through. Pour the heated liquid into the casserole. You should have enough liquid to cover the ribs half-way up. Cover the casserole tightly with foil and place in the pre-heated oven for 3 1/2 hours.
Remove the foil and allow the ribs to cool in the casserole. The dish is best prepared a day ahead of time.
1 1/2 hours before serving, pre-heat the oven to 325. Remove the casserole from the fridge and skim the hardened fat from the ribs. Replace the foil and re-heat the ribs for 1 1/2 hours.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with puréed potatoes and steamed broccoli or green beans. A nice Shiraz, or to add a French touch, a Côtes du Rhône, will complement the dish.