Braised short ribs are all the rage

COOKING FOR TWO

March 24, 2002|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,Special to the Sun

The butcher laughed when I called to order beef short ribs. I wasn't the only one asking. Being a veteran of the meat wars, he could well recall when this meat cut was so unpopular that it wasn't worth wrapping and putting on the shelves.

How things have changed. You can't look at an American restaurant menu without seeing some version of braised short ribs. Earlier this year, Bon Appetit magazine named the ribs the dish of the year. The magazine praised the "meaty, rich and meltingly tender" quality of short ribs.

If you've never had short ribs, you may be surprised that the Cooking for Two recipe calls for such a large quantity. The cut has a large percentage of bone and fat. Some of the bones will separate from the meat and can be discarded. Don't trim the meat of fat before cooking it. Remove it in one of two ways: Either chill the dish overnight, then lift the solid fat off, or remove the meat from the pot, bring the liquids to a boil and scoop off the liquid fat before serving. Leave enough of the pot juices to spoon over mashed potatoes.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Short Ribs

Makes 2 generous servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef short ribs

salt, pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely chopped

5 garlic cloves

1 cup dry red wine

one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary

2 bay leaves

1 cup baby carrots, halved if large

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat oil in large ovenproof pot. Season short ribs with salt and pepper to taste. Add to pot and brown over medium heat 5 minutes per side. Remove meat.

Add onion and celery to pot and saute 5 minutes. Add garlic, wine, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits in pot. Reduce heat to low.

Stir in oregano, rosemary, bay leaves and carrots. Return short ribs to pot and baste with liquid. Cover pot and bake in oven 2 1/2 hours, stirring halfway through cooking time. When meat is tender, remove from oven. Discard bay leaves.

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