Friday, 1 May 2009

Cheap Cuts 1: Beef Short Ribs

These past few weeks, since stopping work, I have been back in my own kitchen and cooking a lot …. But the best bit is, I’ve been cooking the things I love to cook. Offal, and a hell of a lot of it as well, and cuts that most people turn their noses up at. Why? I’ve never understood the snobbery with people and food.

So, on my menu lately has been a lot of liver and kidneys. Haven’t got around to buying hearts yet.

I have a thing about lamb’s kidneys. If I could I would use them exclusively, but am finding ox kidneys are an equal substitute. Much meatier and stronger in flavour, but just as good.

Ox kidneys flash fried to give them some colour, then finished off in the oven to cook just through, and served with some mash and a red wine reduction. Stupendous.

So the other day, I was wandering around Whole Foods. Mainly I was re-visiting places I know in London, as at the end of May I may never see them again. Anyhows, got to the meat section and saw some Beef short ribs on offer, at around £4.50p a kilo. Well this was an offer I could not pass up. As I had made up some brown chicken stock the day before. I could see a hearty dish coming up.

The next day I made up a mirepoix of the usual suspects, and sweated them off till they were nice and soft and just starting to colour. Whilst this was going on, I browned off the ribs in another pan. Just to give it some colour and to get the meat some flavour.

Before I added the ribs to the mirepoix. I added some red wine and reduced that for a while. The ribs went in, and so did some of my brown stock.

These are the type of dishes I love to cook. Little bit of work in the beginning, leave it to its own devices and then some work at the end, and voila. A magnificent dish.

The ribs took about 3½ hours to cook. The meat was falling off the bone, and was really juicy. In that time, all I had to do was stir it once in a while, just to make sure nothing was sticking to the bottom, and skim the fat off. Those ribs are quite fatty.

I removed the ribs, and strained the sauce back into another pan, and boiled it hard to reduce that sauce even more, to get it nice and thick.

Once the sauce was at the consistency I wanted. I.e. nice and thick. The ribs went back in to warm up again.

All served with some mash and the sauce poured over and around. It was nice eating I can tell you.

I wonder how this would go with a Chinese Red Braise Sauce. Hmm, next time.