Until recently braising used to scare me. I'm not sure exactly why, it's actually a pretty simple process that yields moist, flavorful meats. Boneless short ribs were on special at the market, so I decided I'd braise them for a mid-week treat. The meal was such a hit last week, that I'll be making it again tonight.
Here's how this meal does with my three criteria: budget friendly, super easy to make, and flavorful. 2.5 out of 3, a definite keeper.
- Effort: Medium. This isn't really a set it and forget it type of meal. You need to turn the meat partway through cooking and double-check liquid levels. I've just recently started braising meats (for some reason, I'd been afraid of the technique), so running out of liquid and drying out the meat has happened. It didn't happen with this dish.
- Cost: $13.46 for 2.5 servings, or $5.38 a person. With my family's appetite, one and a half pounds of meat, translated into two and a half servings, the half portion for our eleven month old. If served over mashed potatoes or with oven-roasted potatoes, this recipe has enough vegetables to double the meat to three pounds and serve four.
- Taste: Good, a little unbalanced. I used a Merlot for the wine. While flavorful, with the spice of chilis from the Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Chilis, the Merlot was a smidgeon overwhelmed. I think a Syrah with its peppery finish or a Pinot Noir with its earthiness would be a better choice.
Note: With the different oven temperatures for the short ribs and for the Brussels Sprouts, this meal requires two ovens. We don't have the luxury of double ovens. So, instead of a countertop microwave, I opted for our Cuisinart TOB-60 Convection Toaster Oven Broiler. Unless stated differently, this is where I prepare most of our side dishes. We've had our toaster oven for over two years and absolutely love it.
Braised Boneless Short Ribs
Ingredients (serves two and a half)
- 1.25 lbs Boneless Short Ribs (can be doubled)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 3 Carrots, peeled, cut in 1" pieces and halved
- 4 Celery stalks, cut in 1" pieces
- 8 ounces Mushrooms, cut in half
- 1 cup Red Wine
- 1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, Mild
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 teaspoon Thyme
- Reposition your oven rack if necessary so that your ovenproof pot with tight lid fits. Then, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Season your ribs with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat Canola Oil in ovenproof pot over medium to high heat. When oil is hot, add short ribs. Do not crowd the short ribs; you may need to do this in batches. Resist the urge to constantly turn the ribs. You want to get a good sear. Turn when the first side is well browned, repeat until all sides are well browned.
- Transfer the ribs to a bowl and cover with foil.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and sauté the onion. Be careful not burn the onion or the fond.
- When the onion is softened and barely browned, add the minced garlic.
- When you can smell the garlic, about a minute or so, add the carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have released their moisture and are lightly colored, about five minutes.
- Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Cook for five minutes to reduce slightly.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and ribs and return to a boil.
- Cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half.
- After thirty minutes, check the liquid levels and turn the ribs. Add water if the liquid has evaporated too much, you don't want the vegetables or meat to burn.
- Cook for another half an hour to forty five minutes. When the meat is fork tender, the ribs are done.
Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients (serves two)
- 14 to 20 Brussels Sprouts, loose leaves removed and halved
- 1 teaspoon Thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Arrange Brussels Sprouts in a single layer in an eight inch square baker.
- Drizzle the Brussels Sprouts with the Olive Oil.
- Grind salt and pepper to taste over Brussels Sprouts.
- Sprinkle Thyme evenly over Brussels Sprouts.
- Put baker in oven and roast for 30 minutes or until outside leaves are crispy.