I know spring is coming on fast around the country, and the call of the grill is strong, and the braising pot is soon to collect its first layer of dust. But before you let that happen, you might want to hold off the 'que on that next cold, wet spring evening to cook one of the best things you'll eat all year. I know, pretty bold statement, but unlike GWB's infamous "major combat operations are over in Iraq" statement 4+ years and several thousand lives ago, this one is only too true!
I made this for our friends Bobbo & Christina last weekend when they were over for a little weddin' planning session for w and my upcoming nuptials at their house this May. Knowing they shared my deep and abiding respect for all things beefy and slow-cooked it seemed like the perfect time to pull out this recipe I spotted in Barbara Kafka's authoritative book on all things delicious from the oven, "Roasting: A Simple Art". It's a great source for inspiration, especially for those soul-warming dishes that help you get through the cool months when the thought of freezing your ass off by the Weber just isn't your idea of culinary accomplishment. And this particular serving of braised brilliance is so incredibly good, and also unbelievably easy to prepare. The short ribs come out fall off the bone tender, with the vegetables and garlic saturated with a savory meat sauce in the pan (you can see all those perfectly roasted nuggets of garlic in the pic in the upper left...yummm!). Alongside a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes, this is just what a body needs!
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Roasted Short Ribs with glazed garlic, fennel, and carrots
adapted from Barbara Kafka's "Roasting"
5-1/2 pounds beef short ribs
1/4 cup beef stock or red wine
1-1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 large yellow onion chopped in 1/4" dice (2 cups)
40 whole cloves garlic, peeled (about 1 cup)
2 large fennel bulbs (14 oz. each), trimmed, stalks removed, and cut lengthwise into 8 or 9 wedges
8 carrots peeled and trimmed, cut into 2 inch lengths
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1-Place oven rack in center and heat oven to 500*
ribs just after the initial roast
2-Arrange ribs in a 14x12x2 inch roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes, turn once and roast for an additional 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350*. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to a large platter. Pour or spoon off excess fat from roasting pan. Put pan on top of stove. Add stock (or wine) and bring contents to a boil while scarping the bottom of the pan to loosen an meat bits. Add caraway seeds to liquid and reserve.
all layered up just before going into the oven
3-Arrange half the onion, garlic, fennel, and carrots in a 5 or 6 quart casserole (preferably with lid). Arrange the ribs in a single layer on top. Layer remaining onion, garlic, fennel, and carrots over and around ribs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pour reserved liquid over all. Cover tightly with foil and a lid. Cook 3 hours. When done bring pot and all to the table. Serve alongside mashed or boiled potatoes.