Saturday, November 6, 2010

Symon's Braised Short Ribs with Orange and Olive Salad

It was late in the evening when I started making these short ribs. My husband was out and the kids were in bed. Ah, quiet time. The perfect time to be in the kitchen. Like a good book, you can get lost in a recipe. The methodical chopping, the sizzling noises, and the intoxicating aromas. If you listen, those ingredients are telling you a story. The story of what's to come.

Last night, in the glorious peace and quiet, I listened. In the end, I didn't really have a choice. All at once, the seductive aromas came screaming at me from across the room. The scent was so promising, so glorious, and so inviting that I couldn't help but sit there and smile. I knew those ribs were going to be fantastic. They were definitely telling me a story. A story with a VERY HAPPY ENDING.

I've made many short ribs over the years and was never really bowled over by them. Symon's short ribs have made me a convert. I have to say that I absolutely loved them. Hands down one of my favorite things I've had lately. I say that a lot, don't I?

Braised Short Ribs

Serves 6
6 pounds meaty beef short ribs on the bone
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 fresno chile, halved
1/2 cup tomato paste
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 salt-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed (I use the equivalent in anchovy paste)
1 bay leaf
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
1 quart (4 cups) Chicken Stock
2 cups dry red wine (I used Barefoot Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, $6.99 a bottle)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

The day before cooking the short ribs, season them with salt and pepper and refrigerate. NOTE: I did take note of this and season the night before. Is it possible that this step really makes a huge difference in flavor? Maybe so.

The next day, remove the ribs from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you want to cook them. (I'm definitely a big believer in letting the meat come down to room temp before cooking)

Preheat the oven to 325F. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the short ribs to the pan and cook on all sides until browned, a few minutes for each side. Transfer the ribs to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and ribs.

Pour off all but 2-3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and chile to the pan along with a large pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme sprigs, anchovies, bay leaf, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock, wine, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Return the short ribs to the pan, cover, and braise in the oven for 1 hour. (Note: I read in Symon's book that it is very important to use the correct pan when braising. The braising liquid should only cover 2/3rds of whatever you are braising. In my case, the tops of the ribs were peeking out over the sauce).

Lower the oven temperature to 225F and cook for 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Remove the ribs to a large bowl and strain the liquid into the bowl. Discard the solids. Refrigerate overnight.

To serve, skim the congealed fat off the liquid and reheat the ribs in the liquid. Remove the ribs to a serving platter and cover to keep warm while you simmer the liquid to reduce it by half. Pour the sauce over the ribs and serve. I served my short ribs over Symon's Soft Polenta with Mascarpone, which is perfectly delicious all on it's own.

Michael Symon's Orange and Olive Salad, recipe sourced by Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
* 2 oranges, cut in segments
* 1 shallot, thinly sliced
* 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
* 2 tablespoons capers
* 1 cup packed parsley leaves
* 4 ounces olive oil
* 1 lemon, juiced

For the salad, place all ingredients in nonreactive mixing bowl and toss together.

Notes/Results: The meat on the short ribs was fall off the bone tender and the sauce was so succulent that you could just eat it with a spoon. Full of body and rich flavor, the short ribs went very well with the creamy and cheesy polenta. The salad of oranges and olives rounded out the whole meal, adding a little brightness. All in all, it was a fabulous meal with knock-out aromas. One of my favorite Symon dishes yet.
Note: I also think Symon's recipe for short ribs could easily be adapted to suit a beef roast(I like to use the shoulder cut). A tender beef roast is every bit as good as short ribs and often easier to find, easier to work with, and much more economical. I loved the flavors and the sauce on the short ribs and hope to make a version with a beef roast soon.

I am submitting this to Brenda at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen for her weekly Cookbook Sundays event. I am also submitting this to Ashlee of Veggie by Season for her bimonthly Symon Sundays roundup.

Also, my friend Arlene over at The Food of Love is looking for short rib recipes. If you have a favorite recipe, please send her a link. (You can find her site by clicking on The Food of Love link above.


  1. oh wow, these ribs have got me seduced too! they sound amazing, don't you love total wins like this!

  2. OMG Kim, I'm dying here, they look SO good!! I have only made short ribs once in my entire 28 years of marriage. Does that tell you how they came out? LOL! I've never had the urge to make them again but THIS is a recipe I have to try. When I first saw the pic, I thought the polenta was a flour tortilla. Now that's not a bad idea either. Hmmmm.... Thanks for sharing this aweseome recipe with Cookbook Sundays!

  3. Oh wow, just look at the color on those ribs. You can tell just by looking at them that they turned out bursting with flavor. What a beautiful dish to be converted back to short ribs! I am ready for a little comfort like this.

  4. You know, I've never been wowed by short ribs either. Maybe I didn't have the right recipe. The vivid descriptions you give make me almost able to smell these cooking...and they look fantastic! I love that you served them over polenta. Reminds me of the classic Creole grillades and grits, which makes me very happy.

    I had to laugh about the salad because the combination of orange and olives sounds so strange at first. But I know it's a combo that definitely works! Just like you said--a nice brightness.

  5. I love short ribs, they have a flavor that is wonderful, unfortunately the price of them is not! Thanks so much for the tip to use a chuck type roast, I can't wait to do that.

  6. Oh my, they look wonderful! And the polenta was absolutely the perfect thing to pair them with. What a delicious meal. I'm sure your husband proposed all over again when you served him this!

  7. Just as you have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince charming, it seems like you have to make a few bad short ribs to get to the good ones. It looks like yours turned out beautifully!

  8. I'd love to get lost in that pot of short ribs!

  9. The 2-day process is a small price to pay for glorious short ribs and these sound incredible (though the anchovies give me pause).
    The ones I posted last week were just so-so; I'll definitely try these next time.

  10. Short ribs done right are beyond compare--these look amazing and with that creamy polenta, you have the ultimate comfort food meal. Yum!

  11. adore your passion for cooking what an amazing salad

  12. I felt the delightfulness in your writing while these short ribs were cooking, you had me, I was ready to pull up a chair with my fork in my hand. I was ready to eat! This meal looks amazing.

  13. Welcome to the short rib fan club! I loved this post...well written and fab food! Mmmm.

  14. Don't you just love happy endings? How wonderful to have such a fabulous dinner. Well done!

  15. Kim, I've never eaten or cooked short ribs, but I definitely need to try these. This recipe sounds divine.
    Sue :-)

  16. I feel like I can smell those yummy short ribs from here. I totally agree with removing the meat from the refrigerator for a while before cooking. It makes a big difference.

    Love the orange salad you've served with it. I'm a big fan of orange salads.

  17. I very much like the bedtime story! The ribs sound fantatsic, particularly since you can prep them ahead of time. A real winner Kim!

  18. Ok, YUM. That's just all I can say....YUM.

  19. I second that - all I can say is YUM.

  20. Yum these look so good! I love short ribs but not all of the time and effort they take :( I wish I had a Dutch oven!

  21. Oh those short ribs sound amazing, and the orange salad sounds like the perfect thing to go with it, to cut through the richness (not that i cant handle richness LOL)
    *kisses* HH

  22. Those short ribs look rich and comforting, Kim!!!!I am drooling here....I would love this with plain white rice!

  23. That beef and polenta just sounds magical together.

    And I love those moments like that, just you and the kitchen in a quiet house. Or out on the back deck in the middle of the night, watching wisps of smoke silently climbing into the black sky.

  24. This looks so packed with flavor I'm having heart palpitations. You've convinced me - I need to put this cookbook on my holiday wish list. It's so deep, so succulent and yes, I'd take the salad, also.

  25. Hey,

    That's a beautiful dish///:)Just followed you...:)


  26. omg, look at that succulent meat w/ the gorgeous juices pooled on the polenta...I think I've died and gone to heaven!!!

  27. totally go for some tender, warm beef...I'd take the salad too great combination:)

  28. Oh my gosh, Kim. . .these short ribs look and sound absolutely perfect. All those wonderful flavors! I love how you wrote about your time in the kitchen pondering. You really could be a food journalist! I have got to try this recipe as well as the polenta. Since I don't have the cookbook, I can't thank you enough for posting this. All is well here, trying to wrap my head around the fact that next week is Thanksgiving! Hope you're doing well too!!!!


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