November 27, 2009

Red Wine Braised Short Rib Beef Stew

Red Wine Braised Short Rib Beef Stew

2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbsp all purpose flour
10 cremini mushrooms, cut in 1/4's if large or in 1/2 if small
1 bottle Cabernet sauvingnon, or other dry red wine
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems tied together w/ butcher's twine
4 oz demi glace*
1 tbsp instant espresso or coffee
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (or less if you don't like black pepper)
10 cipollini onions, peeled & left whole
15 whole small carrots, peeled
10 small new white potatoes
4 stalks celery, cut in 2" pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas
extra kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, if necessary

For the slurry:
2 tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place a large oven-safe pot on the stove over high heat. Add canola oil to the pan. Heat for at least 2 minutes until there are ripples in the oil but before the oil begins to smoke.

While the oil is heating, season the short rib cubes with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Lightly dust the meat with flour.

Working in two batches so as not to over-crowd the pan, brown the beef on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Once browned, remove the beef from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minute or until well caramelized. Remove from pot and set aside with the browned beef.

Pour off any oil pooling in the pot. Return the pot to the stove and increase the heat to high. Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar to the pan. Scrap up any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine and vinegar to reduce by half, stirring occasionally.

Once the wine has finished reducing, add the whole garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, demi-glace, instant coffee, kosher salt, black pepper, and reserved mushrooms and browned beef to the pot. Stir. Allow the liquid to return to a boil then place a lid on the pot. Place the pot into the preheated 300 degree oven.

Allow the beef to braise in the oven for 1 hour at 300 degrees. After 1 hour, add the cipollini onions, carrots, new potatoes and celery to the pot. Stir. Replace the lid to the pot and return the pot to the oven. Braise the stew for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is fall-apart-tender and the veggies are cooked through. Taste the stew and adjust seasoning as desired with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Place the stew on the stove over medium-high heat, add the frozen peas. Stir and bring to a boil.

While the stew is coming to a boil whisk together the corn starch and cold water until all of the corn starch has dissolved.

As soon as the stew reaches a boil, pour in the corn starch slurry and stir the pot immediately. Cook for another 1 minute at a boil until the stew is slightly thickened and the liquid is more viscous.

Remove the pot from heat. Remove the thyme sprigs. Allow the stew to cool, then place in the fridge. Allow the stew to chill overnight. This will allow the flavors to marry and will give the best tasting results! Before reheating, remove the layer of fat that has risen to the top and harden overnight. (This is another great reason to chill the stew. Otherwise you will be eating all of that extra fat!)

Reheat the stew over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Serve with a great loaf of crusty bread. Enjoy!

*If you do not wish to make demi-glace (because it takes for freaking ever!) and you can't find it in a specialty store, you can substitute a really good beef stock or just omit it altogether. While not a fundamental ingredient it adds a rich flavor if you can find it.

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