Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lucques Short Ribs

foodblog 1262
Short ribs are one of my favorite things to eat, and one 0f my favorite go-to dishes to serve at dinner parties when the weather is chilly. They're easy to cook for a crowd they're not something you have everyday, and everyone seems to love them. I figured this recipe had to be a winner, since it is one of the signature dishes at Lucques, Suzanne Goin's restaurant in Los Angeles. With port, red wine, and that horseradish cream - how can you go wrong?

I did make a few modifications to the recipe, based on my previous experience with short ribs. Above all, I highly recommend chilling the cooking liquid overnight to allow the fat to solidify so it can easily be removed - a tip I learned from Cooking Light. I also pared down the potato recipe, using some yogurt and milk in place of some of the butter - though if I were serving this to company, I might consider going whole hog. I also lightened the greens by using chicken broth to saute them along with the oil.

My husband doesn't like pearl onions (something about the texture) so I used chopped onions to saute the greens, which worked just fine. I also finished the greens with some vinegar, to give them a little zing.

I actually prepared these over three days, removing the fat and straining and reducing the sauce on the second day. I added the ribs back to the sauce and simmered them for about 45 minutes on the day they were served. The longer this simmers, and sits in the fridge, the better it tastes - or so it seems. The sauce definitely tasted better on the third day.

The recipe is supposed to feed six people, but I don't think one rib is an adequate serving per person. The recipe recommends flanken cut ribs, rather than the "English cut" ribs you often see in grocery stores here. If you are using English ribs, I would count on two to three bones per person. If you are feeding more than four people, I would also double the rest of the ingredients.

If you would like to try a similar dish, but don't have the time or wherewithal to make it, try the short ribs at Market. They're not as good as homemade (and there is no horseradish cream) but they are pretty close. If you really like short ribs though, I recommend you try this for yourself. It is a bit time consuming, but it's also quite simple, and very much worth the trouble.

Braised Short Ribs with Sauteed Greens, Horseradish Cream and Potato Puree
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

6 -8 meaty beef short ribs (count on at least two bones per person)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
4 whole sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ cups port
2½ cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef stock (I used canned, but would seek out fresh-made if possible)
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

For the greens:
1 Tbsp of olive oil (or olive oil sprayer) ½ cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
2 bunches Swiss chard, collard or mustard greens, cleaned, centre ribs removed (I used 4 handfuls of pre-washed bagged greens from Trader Joes) a splash of cider vinegar (about 2 tsp)

Potato Puree
3-4 medium potatoes, well scrubbed, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks salt
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup light sour cream
2-3 Tbsp whole milk

Horseradish Cream
½ cup creme fraiche
2 Tbsp jarred prepared horseradish

Remove ribs from refrigerator an hour before cooking and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Season generously with salt on all sides.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot, almost smoking. Add short ribs (in batches if necessary) and sear until nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes.

Transfer ribs to a large bowl.

Turn heat down to medium, and add onion, carrot, celery, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add balsamic vinegar, port and red wine. Turn heat up to high and reduce liquid by half.
Add stock and bring to a boil.

Place short ribs back in the pot. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

Remove the ribs from the sauce, and discard the bones if they have separated from the meat. Allow the sauce and meat to cool slightly, and refrigerate them separately overnight (I leave the sauce in the pot).

Using a large spoon or your fingers, break up and remove the layer of congealed fat on top of the sauce.

Bring to a simmer. Reduce by half, adding seasonings or more wine if necessary.

(If you are serving them immediately, this is a good time to start boiling the water for the potatoes. Also, remove the ribs from the fridge so they can come to room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Add the shortribs back to the sauce, and simmer for fifteen minutes or so, until heated through.

Place short ribs on a shallow pan in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, to brown.

Strain broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. If the broth seems thin, reduce it further over medium-high heat. Taste for seasoning.

Meanwhile, prepare the greens:
Spray a medium saute pan generously with olive oil (or swirl with one tsp of olive oil). Heat on medium/high heat until hot but not smoking. Add a little of the chicken broth, the chopped onions and clove of garlic, and saute until translucent. Add a little more of the chicken broth and loosely pack the pan with the greens. Stir the greens and spray with a little olive oil to help them wilt, then cover and allow them to steam a bit. Remove the lid when they are wilted, and stir. If it looks like you don't have enough, add a little more liquid and some more greens. As a finishing touch, add the cider vinegar and stir to allow it to burn off. Reduce or turn off the heat and replace the lid until ready to serve.

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are fork tender. Mash with the butter, milk, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Press through a sieve for a smooth puree. Add more milk if they seem thick, and keep warm over low heat - stirring occasionally, until ready to serve.

To serve, spoon a serving of potatoes into a large shallow serving bowl and top with greens. Rest two short ribs on top of the greens, and add a generous pour of the braising liquid.

Bon Appetit!


  1. I'm not very practised at making ribs...something that should change in the New Year.

    looks lovely...


  2. This is an outstanding recipe. I've tried a number of slight variations including the deliberate use of a petite syrah (such as Stag's Leap or Concannon) for the wine component and the addition of 1 or 2 prunes for each short rib (English cut) during the braise. it adds a sweet richness your readers might enjoy.

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