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I am a huge fan of both shortribs & oxtails. They have such a delicious unctuous texture when braised in a sauce made with stock, wine & chopped vegetables. They do take a bit of prep., but once they are in the oven, that’s pretty much it. A good thing! And…there are usually some leftovers for another night. You can absolutely use beef shortribs or oxtails if you prefer. Mashed potatoes, gnocchi**, polenta** or just a good baguette would all be great accompaniments, oh & a bottle of red.
Makes approximately 4 – 6 Servings
3 lbs. veal or beef shortribs (not Maui or Korean style)
4 oz. pancetta, cut in a thick slice & diced into ¼” cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced fine
2 stalks celery, diced fine
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
2 whole small sprigs fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup each dry red wine & beef stock** or tinned low/no salt broth
1 cup peeled pearl onions or 1 ½ cups peeled cipolline** onions (Italian flat onions)
1 large bay leaf
4 juniper berries,** crushed
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Potato starch for thickening
**If you like, you can substitute 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage for the rosemary.
**You can add 1 oz. porcini mushrooms that have been soaked if you like.
4 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon or a combination of orange & lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
Combine gremolata ingredients in a small dish, cover & chill until ready to serve the shortribs.
Make the Shortribs:
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
In a large, deep sauté pan, fry the pancetta in a bit of EVO on medium heat until they are slightly golden. Remove to a small plate. Wipe the shortribs with paper towels so they are dry & season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Fry the shortribs, without crowding, until they are browned on all sides. Remove to a large platter; turn down the heat to medium low; add the onions, carrots & celery to the pan; sauté for 5 minutes; add the garlic & parsley; sauté for a minute. Now add the tomato paste & stir into the veggies, sautéing for a minute or two; add the wine, stock, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf & juniper berries & stir to combine. Return the shortribs to the pan; cover & place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid; add the onions, stir to combine then cover & return to the oven for one more hour. Remove the pot from the oven & remove the shortribs to a large platter; keep warm in a 180 F oven. Skim any accumulated fat & discard. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a simmer. When slightly bubbling, stir in a mixture of 1 – 2 Tbsp. potato starch & 2 – 4 Tbsp. red wine until thickened to the consistency you like. Let simmer for a couple of minutes. Serve the shortribs with some of the sauce; sprinkled with the gremolata garnish.
**Juniper berries are available at Galloway’s or at Dussa’s on Granville Island or other stores that carry a large variety of herbs & spices.
**To peel the onions, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, rinse with cold water & peel. Cipolline onions are available at some produce stores, including at Granville Island. They are also available in the early fall at various Farmer’s Markets.
**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.
**If you would like to make gnocchi, please go to Making Gnocchi.
**If you would like to make polenta, please go to Creamy Polenta.