Makes 8 servings
The Short Ribs:
3 bottles dry red wine
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
Flour for dredging
10 cloves garlic, peeled
8 large shallots, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed, and dried
2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped, washed, and dried
6 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 quarts unsalted Beef Stock or store-bought low-sodium beef broth
Freshly ground white pepper
1. Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is hot, carefully set it aflame, let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.
2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Warm the oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole over medium-high heat. Season the ribs all over with salt and crushed pepper. Dust half the ribs with about 1 tablespoon flour and then, when the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear 4 to 5 minutes on a side, until the ribs are well browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate, dust the remaining ribs with flour, and sear in the same manner. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot, lower the heat under the pot to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly, for 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend.
4. Add the reduced wine, browned ribs and stock to the pot. Bring to the boil, cover the pot closely, and slide it into the oven to braise 2 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface. (Not only can you make this a day in advance, it¹s best to make the recipe up to this point, cool and chill the ribs and stock in the pan, and, on the next day, scrape off the fat. Rewarm before continuing.)
5. Carefully (the tender meat falls apart easily) transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with raised rims and keep warm. Boil the pan liquids until they thicken and reduce to approximately 1 quart. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids. (The ribs and sauce can be made a few days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Reheat gently, basting frequently, on top of the stove or in a 350 degrees F oven.)
The Celery Duo: The Celery Root
1 quart whole milk
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in half
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1. Put the milk, 4 cups water, the coarse salt, celery root and potatoes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and cook at a simmer until the vegetables can be easily pierced with the point of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the vegetables and return them to the pan.
2. Put the pot back over low heat and toss the vegetables around in the pot just enough to cook off their excess moisture; transfer the vegetables to the work bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process--taking care not to overwork the mixture--just until the purée is smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the purée warm in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. (The purée can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Cool it, cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the purée, and refrigerate. When you¹re ready to serve, rewarm the purée in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.)
The Celery Duo: The Celery
2 bunches celery
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
1 turnip, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups unsalted Chicken Stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
1. Trim the bottom of each head of celery - but make certain the stalks remain together - then, measure 4 to 5 inches up from the bottom and cut the celery top off at that point (you¹ll be using the bottom part). Remove and discard the 3 or 4 tough outer stalks. Run a vegetable peeler over the exterior of the outer celery stalks to remove the stringy part of the vegetable, then cut each bunch of celery lengthwise into quarters. Keep close at hand.
2. Warm the oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, turnips and celery quarters, season with salt and pepper, and cook, without coloring the vegetables, 3 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Adjust the heat so that the stock simmers steadily and cook the vegetables for about 25 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with the point of a knife. When the vegetables are tender, the liquid should be just about gone, so that you should have tender vegetables lightly glazed with the stock. Remove and discard the carrots and turnips and serve the celery immediately. (If it¹s more convenient, you can make the celery up to 6 hours ahead, chill it and then rewarm it gently at serving time.)
Pour the sauce over the meat. Serve the celery duo on the same platter - the celery root purée can go under the ribs, the braised celery over them.
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