Sometimes the best laid plans for a meal never quite work out the way you want.
I wanted to make lamb. I had it all planned out; yogurt marinated lamb kabobs, home-made tzatzki, pita, a greek salad, some marinated eggplant~ the whole kit and kaboodle. My uncle was in town and my aunt, who had never been to LA the entire 35 years we’ve lived here, was finally here with him. They were coming to my house for dinner and…and I couldn’t find lamb for kabobs anywhere.
First, I was at Costco, buying things one buys there like paper towels and 36 count packages of AA batteries and they had no lamb. Sure, they had expensive chops and a whole boned leg of lamb, but nothing for kabobs. But that’s ok, I wasn’t really expecting to find it there. Then I went to my local “Super” Armenian market. Surely they would have it, right? No, not so much. All they had was whole legs and frozen shoulder steaks. Ick. I made one more stop at another local market and they had no lamb at all.
Fortunately, even though I was never a Girl Scout, I am always prepared and I’d bought some boneless short ribs as a back up plan. My Indian Summer meal was not to be. Instead, I went into full-on “Fall” mode and made this hearty meal complete with creamy polenta, sauted fresh green beans with slivered garlic and shallots, and freshly baked Light Wheat Bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I added the leeks and mushrooms to give it a little more depth of flavor. I was pleasantly surprised and really amazed by how sweet the leeks became after they were cooked this way. The mushrooms I left quartered so they didn’t disintegrate into the sauce; I wanted to keep their earthy flavor.
I’m happy to say everyone loved the meal. I’m still craving lamb kabobs though…
Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Leeks and Mushrooms
4.5-5 lbs boneless Short Ribs
2 Tbsp of olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced (about 8 oz)
1 large yellow onion, diced, (about 12 oz)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 oz dried mushrooms, reconstituted with 1 cup water, water reserved.
1 cup red wine
1.5 cups beef stock (I used a 14 oz can)
1 can chopped tomatoes (14.5 oz with juice)
1 bunch leeks (lighter bottom sections only) cut into 4″ pieces, well cleaned.
12 oz brown mushrooms, quartered
garlic cloves, whole (I used about a dozen very small cloves. If large, slice them)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 Tbsp Fresh herbs (I used rosemary, thyme and parsley)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large dutch oven or pot, heat up 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Pat dry the meat with a paper towel and sear it in the hot oil until brown on all sides.
Note; I used my All Clad 8 qt stock pot with lid because I don’t have a heavy oven proof casserole dish. You can always sear the meat and cook the veg and transfer them into an oven proof pan later too.
After the meat is done, remove and place on a platter temporarily (I had to do the meat in two batches. Don’t crowd it in the pan).
Add the carrots, onions and celery, sauteing them, and scraping up all the browned bits of meat. Saute until soft. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
Add the liquids; the reconstituted dried mushrooms with their liquid, the wine, and the beef stock. Add the meat to the pot and bring to a simmer. Mix in half of the chopped mixed herbs.
Cover the pot and put in the oven. After about an hour, heat a large saute pan and add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned. Remove the mushrooms and another tablespoon of olive oil. Place the cut side of the leeks down first. Cook for two minutes until browned and then turn over. When brown on the other side, remove from heat.
Add the leeks and the mushrooms and the whole garlic cloves to the beef and cook one more hour. After two hours of cooking time the meat is done and should be very tender. At this point, I removed the lid and let the sauce reduce some while the meat continued to cook. You can certainly leave it cook for at least 3 hours and it will just become more tender. Finish the sauce with the rest of the fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
My tips on how to make braised short ribs:
I like to serve this with creamy polenta, but it would also work well with mashed or roasted potatoes or even risotto.
If the sauce is too thin, remove the meat and the leeks to a heat-safe platter and place them in a warm oven. Put the sauce on the stove top and turn up the heat, bringing it to a simmer and reduce for a few minutes before serving.
These short ribs are even better the next day so they can certainly be made in advance and reheated or just make sure you cook extra for leftovers! They also freeze well.
This dish can also be made in a slow cooker, though I would still brown the meat first, similar to my Crock Pot- Pot Roast