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Monday, July 19, 2021

Braised Short Rib

Braised Short Rib

The beef short rib is a popularized cut of meat with incredible potential for flavor and textural nirvana. Several schools of thought exist regarding the appropriate length of time and temperature range for  

cooking short ribs. Modernist techniques created an upsurge in a much lower and slower approach and chefs have begun pushing the boundaries of short rib cookery. The “48-hour” short rib has been popularized as the optimal method for the task. At such a low cooking temperature (135 degrees Fahrenheit) the connective tissue in the meat breaks down to create a tender result, while the meat remains medium rare and moist. Cooking the meat at 135 degrees over 48 hours achieves a medium rare doneness, kills bacteria, and creates a tender end result.


The traditional route for sous vide short ribs involves red wine and beef or veal jus as the cooking liquid. In order to add depth of flavor, roast garlic and onions in dry aged beef fat until golden brown and tender. The intoxicating savory aroma and flavor dry aged beef fat brings to the otherwise monotonous short rib cooking liquid. Combine the jus with roasted onions and garlic to elevate the dish to new heights. Season the short ribs liberally with salt and black pepper, sear in a cast iron pan and baste with the dry aged beef fat to create a deep crust on the surface of the meat and add incredible flavor. Deglaze the pan with red wine, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook out the alcohol in the wine. Add one quart of veal jus per each two-pound portion of short rib and reduce the liquid by ¾ to leave one cup. Whisk in a half pound of dry-aged beef fat to the mixture, season with salt and pepper, and cool thoroughly. Place the seared short rib in a Cryovac bag with the mixture, along with the roasted garlic and onions and seal. Cook the short rib at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 48 hours, and the result will yield a moist, tender, and outrageously flavorful end product.


In order to create a beautiful glaze on the meat, chill the cooking liquid until the fat solidifies and remove as much of it as possible and reserve. Add one pint of veal jus to the remaining cooking liquid, reduce by half and finish with the reserved beef fat. Heat the short rib in this liquid and constantly baste while it reduces. Intermittently flash the meat in the oven or under a salamander or broiler to dry the surface and continue basting. Repeat this process until the sauces reaches a nappe consistency and season to taste. This basting and drying process is akin to how, when painting, you would apply a coat of primer, allow it to dry, and finish with several coats of paint, before the perfect glaze is achieved. 


Voluptuously smooth and buttery rich pommes puree perfectly complements the savory succulence of a braised short rib. The decadent concoction serves almost as an additional sauce to the short rib. Yukon Gold potatoes contain the ideal amount of starch and a buttery texture for pommes puree. Rinse five pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes in cold water to remove dirt from the outside surface. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water and one pint of kosher salt. Simmer the potatoes until tender enough to slip off the tines of a fork when pierced. Heat one quart of heavy cream in a saucepot. Cut two pounds of unsalted butter into cubes and place in the base of a food mill. Drain the water from the potatoes and begin peeling the potatoes with a paring knife. Place the peeled potatoes in the food mill and continuously pass them through the food mill into a saucepot. The butter easily emulsifies into the puree as it passes through the food mill. Once the potatoes are all through the mill, whisk in the heavy cream and taste the mixture for salt. Pass the puree through a chinois to create an impeccably smooth texture. Use a rubber spatula to mix in another half-pound of butter to complete the pommes puree.


In order to introduce an aesthetically pleasing and texturally tantalizing component to the preparation, use a mandolin to thinly slice Yukon Gold potatoes and cut into perfect circles with a ring cutter. Dip the rounds into clarified butter, arrange in circular patterns between two sheet pans lined with a Silpat, and bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown. The crispy potato rings will act as a crust into which a healthy dose of the pommes puree will be placed, creating another dimension of texture to the dish.  


Peel gorgeous, locally grown heirloom baby carrots along the base and pay careful attention to the  

process of cleaning around the bright green tops. Delicately glaze in the dry aged beef fat and nestle closely to the potato and short rib. The carrots not only brighten up the plate, but can stand alone as a  

stellar savory snack.  


In order to provide stark contrast to the predominantly rich profile of the dish, simmer lemon rinds—preserved in salt, sugar, and thyme—in a red wine vinegar and water solution until tender. Blend the rinds into a silky puree and passed the mixture through a tammis for optimal smoothness. Fold the preserved lemon coulis into whipped crème fraiche to tame the harshness and then transfer it to a pastry bag to whimsically dot the plate. This application and preparation of a beef short rib is sure to delight the palate and quench even the strongest of any carnivorous cravings. 

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