Short ribs worthy of Dad require worth-it prep time


Main dish

Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Bacon and Mushrooms

4 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slivers

4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut into individual ribs

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and dried

1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

12 ounces crimini, shiitake or button mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean

3 shallots, or 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 bottle dry red wine

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, optional

Put bacon in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels; set aside. Keep bacon fat in the pot for browning short ribs. Generously season short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over short ribs, tossing to coat evenly. Working in batches, add the ribs to the pot and cook over high heat until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side, about 8 to 12 minutes per batch, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Transfer ribs to the platter with the bacon.

Discard all but 3 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Add potatoes and cook over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to the platter with the ribs and bacon. Add carrots to the pot and brown them well, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring as needed. Transfer carrots to the platter. Add mushrooms to the pot and brown well, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring as needed. Transfer mushrooms to the platter and cover with aluminum foil.

Add shallots and garlic to the pot and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add wine to the pot and bring to a boil over for about 3 minutes, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in tomato paste, and return ribs to the pot. Add bay leaf, cover pot and place in 400-degree oven. Cook ribs 2 hours, turning several times. Check for liquid level and add water as necessary to keep it at 2 inches.

Remove pot from oven and use a metal soup spoon to skim off any visible fat. Stir in bacon and vegetables. Cover pot and return to the oven. Cook the mixture until the meat is very tender and the potatoes and carrots are cooked through, about 1 hour. Skim off visible fat. Discard bay leaf. Taste for seasoning. Serve from the pot with chives sprinkled on top. Serves 4.

Source: Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, $24.95)

Per serving: 695 calories (35 percent from fat), 27 g fat (11 g saturated, 12 g monounsaturated), 155 mg cholesterol, 55 g protein, 43.6 g carbohydrate, 5.4 g fiber, 504 mg sodium.

Father’s Day Weekend might not be the ideal time to expect Dad to start doing the cooking. But if Dad is game, then Miami grilling guru Steven Raichlen has the book to make it happen.

It’s Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys. Part cookbook, part DIY primer, the book is suitable not only for virgin cooks but for guys who know their way around the kitchen and want to try new things.

The margins on the recipe pages contain welcome hints for how to shop for ingredients, what gear you’ll need, and ways to adapt the recipes to different meats or vegetables.

Recipes lean toward the hearty. So, to test one out, I turned to one of the trendiest proteins: Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Bacon and Mushrooms, which seems aimed directly at the masculine palate.

One warning: The recipe claims 30 minutes of prep time to preface three hours in the oven. But given that you’re chopping or slicing bacon, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, shallots, garlic and an optional handful of chives, then braising each item individually before the oven time begins, figure an hour’s worth of prep.

The recipe calls for a whole bottle of red wine. A $6 Beringer cab did the job nicely, but if the ghost of Julia Child has guilted you over the years into dumping pricier wine into something that cooks for hours, go right ahead.

Any wine adds a delightful, fruity sweetness to this meaty stew. The short ribs fall off the bone. The bacon adds salt and some chewy texture bits. Cooking each vegetable individually preserves individual flavors that compete well with the rich gravy.

Serve it over your favorite noodles, grain or rice. I cooked quinoa in beef stock, and we were happy with the result. This recipe is a special-occasion meal, like for ... Father’s Day.

By the Book checks out recipes from new cookbooks. Kendall Hamersly is senior features editor at the Miami Herald.

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