Now that Autumn is officially here and the shorts and flip flops have made their way to the back of the closet, it's time to think of those big red wines which will enhance some of the heartier dishes you will be cooking this Fall and Winter. Laurent Tourondel's recipe below is my absolute favorite one for short ribs. The meat becomes very tender after slowly simmering in the wine and the sauce turns into a thick, rich, glaze. Such a satisfying dish for a cold day! Serve them on a Sunday evening with mashed potatoes, roasted broccolini and a crisp salad. They would taste delicious with a beautiful Malbec from one of my favorite Argentinian producers, Pascual Toso. Scroll down after the recipe for more information on the wines. What a great way to start off your week! Bon Appétit!
Braised Short Ribs With A Red Wine Port Sauce
Adapted from a recipe by Laurent Tourondel
1 large slice of bacon
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 celery stalks, trimmed
4 - 5 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
15 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
6 large shallots, peeled and chopped
15 black peppercorns, cracked
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, such as the Pascual Toso Estate Malbec (see below)
2 & 1/4 cups ruby port
2 & 3/4 cups low sodium beef broth
3 & 1/3 cups low sodium chicken broth
5 large (about 1 pound) plum tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons lemon zest or thinly sliced lemon peel, optional
1) Make the bouquet garni. Lay the bacon strip on a flat surface. Arrange the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and celery stalk on one end of the bacon strip. Roll up the bacon and tie the bouquet garni with kitchen string. Reserve.
2) Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add as many ribs as will fit comfortably in the pot without crowding and brown them on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a plate. Repeat with the remaining ribs.
3) Remove all but 1/4 cup of fat from the pan. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, shallots and black peppercorns to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, for two minutes. Add the flour and stir until blended. Add the bouquet garni, wine and port. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds, about 45 minutes.
4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Return the ribs to the pot. Add the beef and chicken broths and the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pot loosely with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 3 & 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork. I like to take a peek into the pot about 15-20 minutes after I put it into the oven to make sure it is slowly, gently simmering and not boiling.
5) Remove the ribs from the pot. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into a clean pot. Discard the solids. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until reduced to 4 cups and the sauce is thick, rich and glossy, about one hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the ribs to the pot and reheat.
6) Transfer the ribs and sauce to a serving dish, sprinkle with lemon zest if desired and serve immediately. For even more intense flavors, make the short ribs one or two days before serving, reheating before serving.
What To Drink With The Short Ribs:
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Felipe Stahlschmidt, chief winemaker at Pascual Toso, one of the oldest wineries in Argentina. For over 125 years, the winery has been producing high-quality, terroir-driven wines, both white and red. Over a dinner paired with several of them, Felipe talked about the winery's commitment to making premium wines from the best vineyards in Mendoza. For these short ribs I am recommending three of the Pascual Toso Malbecs which I tasted and thought were exceptional wines. All of them, while unique in their own way, have distinct herbal (thyme, mint, rosemary) savory qualities to back up the big, powerful Malbec fruit on both the nose and the palate. They are an ideal match with the earthy, rich and slightly sweet flavors in the short rib dish. Following are the wines, along with descriptions from the winery. These wines are readily available, just go to www.wine-searcher.com to find out where.
- Pascual Toso Estate Malbec 2014 ($13.99) - "This Estate-grown Malbec reveals a fruity nose filled with plum and quince aromas and a slight touch of elegant oak. The mouthfeel is full with flavors of blackberry and licorice, and has a rich and lingering finish, with smoky accents of vanilla and oak". This Malbec is an excellent value and would add a lot of flavor to the short rib dish if used in the recipe.
- Pascual Toso Reserva Malbec 2014 ($24.99) - "Ripe plums and raspberry fruit are the first aromas to reach the nose on this dark red Reserva Malbec. Slightly toasted, gentle tannins, as well as spice and chocolate, join the aforementioned fruits on the palate. This wine finishes long, lingering and focused".
- Pascual Toso Alta Malbec 2013 ($49.99) - "A special wine which has been made with grapes from sixty year-old vines. It presents slight hints of violet and a fruity nose and evokes blackberries, spices and tobacco. This Malbec will leave you with a rich and lingering finish". This Malbec, with it's intense smokey, fruity and spicy aromas and flavors would pair wonderfully with the rich flavors of the short rib dish.