Short ribs braised in red wine and fennel (seeds and bulb), with "semolino"
|April 12, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under braised, meats, short ribs, winter|
I had braised tender fall-off-the-bone short ribs recently at one of the supper clubs me and my husband occasionally attend (see the third course of that dinner here).
So I NEEDED to make them again at home, for friends.
I cooked them the day before to allow for the flavors to “marry” well and to allow for the fat to come to surface and solidify so I could remove it (just some of it!).
The sauce is spectacular with a hint of fennel (that comes from both the chopped bulb and crushed seeds) that surprisingly is not overpowering nor “anice-y”, like you might think. The key is using a really good bottle of red wine, hopefully, possibly, Italian. It does make a difference in the flavor and richness.
This recipe is my free interpretation of many different recipes. I went by instinct trying to think with my taste buds, as I often do, and my “adventurousness” really paid off!!!
I served once for us to “test” with a cauliflower and celery root mash (made JUST in the same way you would make a potato mash, just adding a touch of freshly grated nutmeg) plus wilted swiss chards (just steamed then sauteed in oil and garlic) and once for our friends with a delicate “semolino” with Parmesan cheese (see recipe below). I loved both versions of sides.
“Semolino” is similar to polenta (or, if you live in the south of the U.S., grits) but a lot more delicate and light. It is made by boiling semolina flower in milk. It is super-fast to make (I make it right in front of my guests, as we are getting ready to sit down for dinner, so it’s warm and creamy). Growing up it was a great last-minute dinner that my mom would prepare for us. My children love it as much as I did!
In Rome, there is a popular dish called “gnocchi di semolino” which is made with semolino, cooled, spread on an oiled marble surface, cut out in rounds (using a round cookie cutter, or a small glass), layered in a Pyrex dish and baked in the oven, sprinkled with melted butter and more Parmesan cheese.
Serve with a good bottle of red Italian wine.
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 6 oz. tomato paste can
1 bottle (yes, I know!!!) hearty red wine
2 bay leaves
Rub the surfaces of the short ribs with the salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron (Dutch oven) over medium heat.When hot, add the ribs, without crowding them. If they don’t all fit, brown them in batches. Cook making sure they are sizzling but not burning turning to brown all sides, a few minute per side.
Once browned, transfer the short ribs to a bowl..
While it’s not necessary, you might want to tie the ribs with cooking twine (I used silicone ties, which my mother in law had giften me for Christmas: finally I found use to them!) to keep the short ribs together when they are slow cooking in the oven.
Discard all the fat from the pot except for 1 or 2 Tbsps (your call) which you will leave in the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and fennel bulb and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until golden.
Meanwhile crush the garlic and fennel seeds together with a mortar and pestle or with a large chef’s knife.
Add to the vegetables and cook for about one minute.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Add the wine and bay leaves to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes to reduce. Stir in the tomato paste stirring to dissolve and again bring to a boil. Add the browned ribs reserved in the separate bowl and their accumulated juices. Stir the short ribs to coat them with the sauce. Cover and braise in the lower half of the oven for 2½ to 3 hours, until the meat is falling off the bones.
Remove the bay leaves from the sauce.
If – like me – you will have made this the day ahead of serving, refrigerate, remove some of the fat that will have surfaced and then reheat on the stove before serving.
By the way, I had quite a good amount of left-over sauce with ended up being the condiment of a delicious pasta (I used “orecchiette” shape) the next day!!! This dish went a long way.
1 cup finely ground semolina (or slightly less, if you prefer it a bit looser, creamier)
4 cups whole milk
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, TT
Bring the milk to a boil in a non-stick pot, turn the heat down, add the butter and slowly pour in the semolina flour, constantly stirring for a few minutes, until it boil and thickens. Turn the fire off and add the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
Here are the images of the braised ribs with the cauliflower and celery root mash and the wilted swiss chards.
Making teh cauliflower and celery root mash: