Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

It's been a while since I've had the time to cook anything, what with all the traveling and whirlwind of social engagements...so it was really nice to slow down, and get back into the kitchen for a bit of homecooking therapy.

For a casual luncheon with my MGS-galfriends, I wanted to make something rustic and hearty. These are the girls I grew up with, and they've seen me at my most painfully awkward, braces, puberty, first-loves, and whatnot. And because we've shared so much history (most of it sordid!), I'm most at ease with these girls...I don't ever have to try very hard with them (heck, I don't even have to put on any pants when they're around!)...so whipping up a simple but comforting stew was just perfectly in line with my easy friendship with these girls.

I wanted to braise some short ribs in really good red wine, it's a minimum-effort-with-maximum- results dish, but it almost didn't come to fruition, because it's so freaking difficult to find short ribs in Singapore. Even if it's available (find it at Swiss Butchery or Huber's), it's sold frozen (such cuts don't move very fast here in this part of the world), in short supply (we wiped them out buying 6 pounds alone) and cost a pretty penny. Oh well.

Ingredients (feeds 6-8):
3kg bone-in short ribs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 head garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced to 1/2" cubes
2 stalks carrots, diced to 1/2" cubes
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups red wine (I used a full-bodied Medoc, a blend of cabernet savignon and merlot)
2 cups unsalted or low-sodium beef broth
2 cups unsalted or low-sodium chicken broth (for a beef-ier flavour, switch out the chicken stock with an equal amount of beef stock)
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied together with butcher's twine
3 bay leaves

1) Brown ribs, salting liberally, in olive oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.

2) Set aside browned ribs in large pot.

3)With 2 tbsp beef fat-infused olive oil, fry onions until translucent, about 2 minutes.

4) Add garlic, frying for about 1 minute until fragrant.

5) Add carrots, frying for 2 minutes until softened.

6) Add celery, frying for 2 minutes until softened.

7) Add tomato paste, tossing through until fragrant, about 1 minute.

8) Add wine, reduce by half.

9) Add beef and chicken stock.

10) Transfer to pot with browned short ribs.

11) Add thyme and herbs. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 1 hour, or until desired tenderness.

12) There's no real need to salt any further, but feel free to sprinkle more if you like. Serve with polenta, potato mash or crusty bread.

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