I am slowly but surely coming out of winter hibernation mode. After another snowstorm hit last week, the sun returned this weekend and the temperatures are supposed to climb into the 50s this week (!!!). Thank goodness for that.
Given that it has been absolutely freezing for the past month, and any desire or motivation to step outside had all but evaporated, we bunkered down with movies, House of Cards marathons, cozy fires, obnoxious piles of blankets, and good ol’ comfort food. Our weekends have consistently involved some (or all) of these things. And while I’m rejoicing in the fact that the clocks sprung forward this past weekend, and that actual spring is hopefully right around the corner, I’ll be missing the hibernation days just a bit. These short ribs are partly to blame.
Short ribs have been one of my all-time, go-to comfort meals for years now. Whether they’re sandwiched between gooey cheese and bread or braised until falling apart and used to coat long strands of pasta, they are a staple in my kitchen during the winter. They are not only comforting to eat but comforting to make as well. I don’t know about you, but I adore the process of slow braising something for hours at a time. There’s something just so…comforting (I need a thesaurus) about it. The house fills with a glorious aroma and the warmth of the oven, and you know that you’re going to eat something really awesome and delicious when all is said and done. The anticipation is wonderful.
These short ribs are no exception. I braised them in nutty, sweet stout beer, soy sauce, honey, and brown sugar until they are tender and moist and practically falling off the bone. And then I take the braising liquid and cook it down into this intensely sticky, sweet, and savory glaze. The ribs only need to be dunked in the glaze to get all the incredible flavor. And then, because short ribs always need a carb vehicle of some kind, I plop them on top of some insanely creamy, punch-in-your-nose wasabi mashed potatoes. Because…well…mashed potatoes. And wasabi. YUM.
The sweetness of the glaze, the earthiness of the ribs, and the heat of the potatoes all work fabulously together.
So, yeah, bring it on, Spring. I’m ready for you. Just let me get a few more forkfuls of this meal into my face first.
2 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
1 cup of flour, for dredging
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry red wine
12 oz stout beer (I used Guinness)
1½ cups low-sodium beef broth
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf
2 teaspoons corn starch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk, warmed
Drizzle of heavy cream
2 tablespoons wasabi paste (or to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped chives, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch or pot with a tight fitting lid over high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and then dredge through the flour to coat, shaking off the excess. Brown the short ribs in batches, about 2 minutes per side. Set the short ribs aside and drain off all but a tablespoon of the drippings.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Stir in the wine, stout, stock, honey, soy, sugar, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and add the short ribs back into the pot. Cover and cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours, until the meat is very tender and about to fall off the bone.
Remove the ribs from the sauce and place the pot on the stove over medium heat. Simmer the sauce until thickened, skimming off any fat. After 10 minutes or so, whisk in the dissolved corn starch until smooth. The sauce should be thick and glossy like a glaze. Return the ribs to the pot and toss to coat in the reduced sauce. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Place the diced potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender (cooking time will depend on how small you chop your potatoes). Drain the potatoes well and return to the pot. Turn the heat on low and stir in the butter and milk, mashing the potatoes as you go. Mash the potatoes to desired consistency (using a hand blender is also an option for super smooth potatoes). Stir in the heavy cream and wasabi paste just before serving. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Place a heaping pile of mashed potatoes on each plate and then top with the short ribs. Drizzle any extra the sauce over the top and garnish with fresh chives. Serve immediately.