by Kat Johnson
One of my favorite cuts of meat to cook for a small crowd is short rib. It’s incredibly forgiving, which means you can spend time hanging out while it cooks. Melissa Clark’s Vermouth-Braised Short Ribs is a great starting point if you've never made short ribs before. With one caveat: according to Clark, you have a choice between boneless or bone-in short rib. If you ask me, there’s no choice. Bone-in equals more flavor, and I like more flavor!
I start the day before by cutting the short ribs along the bone (English style), seasoning generously with Kosher salt, wrapping in plastic, and placing in the refrigerator.
On the day I’m cooking the short ribs, the main job is to chop up vegetables. For my mirepoix, I use one white onion, one red onion, four leeks, and four stalks of celery.
I also large dice small, waxy potatoes and carrots (they’ll be added in towards the end).
Next, it’s time to brown those short ribs in plenty of olive oil! This is when my eight quart Le Creuset dutch oven comes in handy. It’s plenty to big to handle these large cuts. It’s important to brown them on all sides before placing them aside.
Next, the mirepoix goes into the dutch oven (don’t be afraid to add more oil). Once they’ve softened, about 5-8 minutes, I add in white wine (about half a bottle), vermouth (about 1 cup), and stock (about a quart). Let the liquid reduce by half before returning the short ribs to the pot.
The short ribs will cook for about two hours. Time to pop open a couple bottles of wine and spend some quality time with guests. It’s also a great opportunity to offer up some appetizers, and one of my favorite fall snacks is roasted delicata squash. They brown perfectly, and don’t last long once you serve them.
After a couple of hours, when the short rib is falling-off-the-bone-tender, I add in the diced potatoes and carrots and cook for 20-30 minutes, just until fork-tender. When ready, I serve it up in bowls with some slices of freshly baked bread to sop up all of the broth.
Best of all, this feast is cooked in just one pot – my Le Creuset eight quart dutch oven. Thanks to the enamel finish, cleaning up after a dinner party is fast and easy.