I think I said this last year in the dead of winter, or maybe as the winter months were approaching, but there is just something so comforting about meat cooked low and slow this time of year. Unctious and comforting, these dishes are warm and substantial, and on many occasions, one-pot meals. They are also very cost-effective since cheaper cuts of meat are ideal for this cooking process. They have a ton of flavor, but need more time to break down.
Now, I know most people really want a good portion of mashed potatoes or polenta to complement these dishes, and if that's up your alley, get on with your bad self. I like to maintain some kind of healthy balance, so I chose to balance the meat with some braised kale.
If you wanted to do this in your slow cooker, you certainly can, although I highly recommend getting a good sear on the meat before adding all the ingredients to the slow cooker. I also would recommend blending the sauce leftover in the pot at the end of the cooking process to make a great pan sauce, but out here in kitchen basics world, I don't have a blender, immersion or otherwise. I did take the time to spoon some of the juices over my short ribs, though. If you follow this recipe, you will almost definitely have leftovers of the meat. I did this on purpose, because with my hectic campaign schedule, if I'm going to take the time to slow cook something for a few hours, I want to be able to make a few meals out of them.
Braised Short Ribs and Kale
- 2-3 bone-in short ribs, approximately 1 lb.
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 c. spicy red wine
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- 2 c. beef stock
- 2 c. of kale, ribs removed and chopped
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- splash of chicken or vegetable stock
- olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 2 T. chopped herbs for garnish, such as parsley and tarragon
Heat 1-2 T. of oil in a large pot. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, making sure they are room temperature. Add them to the pot and sear them on each side until they turn golden brown; approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the short ribs and set aside.
Add the celery, carrot and onion to the pot. Season with salt and let the vegetables start to soften for 5-6 minutes. Stir in 2 of the garlic cloves until the vegetables and garlic are combined. Add in the wine and vinegar. Let it simmer until the wine reduces by half. Nestle the short ribs back into the pot. Add the beef stock until the liquid comes 3/4 of the way up the side of the meat. Cover and let the ribs simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
When the ribs are almost ready, heat 1 tsp. of oil in a pan. Add the remaining garlic clove and red pepper, stirring the oil for 1 minute. Add the kale into the pan, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Stir so the kale is coated in the oil, red pepper and garlic. As it starts to wilt down, add in the chicken stock and let it cook for 6-7 minutes; until the kale is wilted and tender.
Plate the kale. Nestle the short ribs on top of the kale. Spoon some of the juices from the pot over the meat. Garnish with the herbs and lemon zest.