Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Celery Root Purée

Nothing is more comforting in chilly weather than a rich and hearty braise. The tender meat falls off the bone and can be eaten with just a fork, no need for cutting. Short ribs come from the cut of the cow referred to as the “short plate” – the large pieces of rib that extend down from the ribeye. The moist heat from the method of braising (roasting meat with a liquid at a low temperature over a long period of time) causes the connective tissue in the meat to soften and transforms well marbled, fatty and often tough cuts of short ribs into incredibly tender meat with a rich sauce.

The winter vegetable celery root may not be the prettiest vegetable out there – but here I puree this knobby produce with some potatoes and cheese for the perfect base and accompaniment for the beef and sauce. Celery root puree has a mild flavor brought out by simmering the vegetables in milk before straining and blending until smooth.

 

Ingredients:

For the red wine braised short ribs:

3½ pounds bone-in, English-cut beef short ribs*

Kosher salt, as needed

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups dry red wine (I use cabernet sauvignon)

2 cups beef stock

2 sprigs rosemary

2 bay leaves

 

For the celery root puree:

3 cups whole milk

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning

2 large celery roots, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 1½ pounds)

1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes

½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup Parmesan cheese

 

Instructions:

For the red wine braised short ribs:

Preheat oven to 325º. Thoroughly dry the ribs with a paper towel then season the short ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. In batches to avoid over-crowding the pot, add the short ribs to the pot and sear until they are browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Continue with the remaining short ribs and set aside.

In the Dutch oven over medium heat add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, sautéing until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir constantly, letting cook until the flour turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine before adding the red wine, beef stock, rosemary, bay leaf and short ribs to the pot. The ribs should not be completely covered by the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook, rotating the short ribs about every 45 minutes, until the meat is fork tender, about 2½ hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes then skim off any fat from the top and discard.

 

For the celery root puree:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, 3 cups of water and salt to a boil over high heat. Add the celery root, potato and onion and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the vegetables, discarding the cooking liquid.

Add the vegetables to a blender with the butter and Parmesan cheese and blend until pureed. Season to taste with salt.

 

To serve:

Spoon celery root puree into bowls and top with braised short ribs. Ladle the braising liquid over the top. Serve with roasted vegetables on the side (optional).

 

Serves 4. 

 

*Note: English-cut short ribs means that when the ribs are separated from each other the meat sits on top of the bone. This is the most common cut of short rib

 

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