My parents often cooked shortribs because they were one of the least expensive meats you could get from the butcher and we liked them a lot! Those days are gone! It’s the same with oxtails. But they are so delicious that every once in a while we like to cook some for a treat. Chinese five-spice, makes these different and special. Serve with stir-fried veggies (omit the carrots from the recipe) and steamed rice.
6 lbs. beef shortribs, divided into single rib sections
2 onions, chopped, ¼” dice
¾ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
½ cup dry sherry
Hot chili paste such as Sambal Oelek, or to taste
1 Tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder**
1 Tbsp. minced gingerroot
4 cloves garlic, minced
(Optional) 6-8 carrots, peeled
3 green onions, sliced on the diagonal (for garnish)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste
Place the ribs in a large pot & cover with water; bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover & simmer for 1 hour to render the fat. Remove the ribs to a platter & allow the broth to cool for 15 minutes. Line a sieve with rinsed cheesecloth & strain the broth. (You can do this the day before, cover & chill the shortribs & broth until ready to continue making the recipe). Skim the fat from the broth & measure out 3 cups; return to the pot along with the onions, sugar, soy sauce, dry sherry, five-spice powder, ginger, garlic & hot chili paste; stir to combine ingredients. Return the ribs to the pot. Bring the ribs to a boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until ribs are very tender.
If using the carrots, cut them diagonally into 1/8″ thick slices. When the ribs are tender add to the pot; cover & cook until they are tender-crisp.
Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid & set aside in a warm oven. Strain the liquid through a sieve & add water to make 4 cups (or use leftover broth from the first simmering of the ribs, if necessary to make 4 cups. Return the 4 cups of cooking liquid to the pot; stir together the cornstarch & 1/3 cup of water to make a slurry; whisk into the cooking liquid & cook, whisking, for 2 – 3 minutes or until glossy & thickened. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Return the ribs & carrots (if using) to the pot; discard any loose bones; stir gently to coat with the sauce. Remove the ribs to a warm serving platter & pour the sauce over the top; garnish with the green onions.
If you would like to make Chinese five-spice, click Chinese Five-spice.