Last week Esquire published Eat Like A Man: The Only Cookbook A Man Will Ever Need. Try out this recipe from John Besh, Executive Chef at New Orleans’ Restaurant August and owner of several other restaurants.
I grew up on the Bayou never strayed far because New Orleans has always been, and still is, a hell of a place to cook. Food has more cultural significance here. No matter where in the world early settlers came from—Italy, Spain, Senegal, Haiti—and whether free or enslaved, they assimilated into the Creole culture, embracing everything from language to cooking. That’s why dishes like gumbo and jambalaya have so many ingredients—every culture stirred a bit into the pot. I try to deliver some of that complexity in this one-pot meal while keeping the ingredient list short by using a reduction of naturally spicy Zinfandel with a touch of sugar, a combo that adds backbone and works wonders with the fattiness of the meat.
There was a time when you couldn’t give short ribs away in American restaurants. It was fillet of beef this and lobster that. But as we’ve grown more comfortable—culinarily speaking—we’ve begun to identify with peasant-style cooking, the kind of food our grandparents might have made. This is one of those dishes. The ribs come from the chuck section, where the meat contains a lot of connective tissue and needs slow, moist cooking.
- 4 pounds beef short ribs
- 3 cups Zinfandel
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 ounces dried mushrooms, preferably porcini
- Season the short ribs with salt and pepper; be rather generous.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Zinfandel, sugar, tomatoes, beef broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt.
- Pour the canola oil into a heavy pot or Dutch oven (at least 5 quarts) and place over high heat. When the oil is hot, working in small batches, brown the meat. Turn each piece to brown on all sides before removing from the pot.
- When all the beef is browned and removed from the pot, add the onion, carrots, and celery, allowing the onion to cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Return the beef to the pot along with the wine mixture. Allow the wine mixture to come to a boil before reducing heat, skimming fat from the surface.
- After simmering for several minutes, add the mushrooms. Cover and simmer over very low heat until meat is fork tender and nearly falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Once the beef has cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm. Turn up the heat and reduce the pot liquid until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the ribs to four shallow bowls, spooning the liquid over the top.
- TIP: Ribs cut flanken style (across the bone) are easier to deal with than those cut English style (parallel to the bone), but are slightly more fatty.