Friday, January 7, 2011

Beef Short Ribs With Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos and Herbs

If you read my last post for Homemade Flour Tortillas, you learned that I received a cast iron tortilla press from my girlfriends Angelica and Mai. The second part of their gift was Rick Bayless' book Mexico One Plate At A Time.  I know, I'm a lucky girl!

In it I found a recipe for the most succulent short ribs. I slow cooked them in a cast iron dutch oven. They were heavenly with the homemade flour tortillas!
Beef Short Ribs With Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos and Herbs

by Rick Bayless
  • 5 medium (about 1 pound total) fresh poblano chiles
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • a generous 2 lbs bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces OR one 28 oz can good quality tomatoes packed in juice, drained and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 large sprig fresh epazote, plus an additional sprig (optional) for garnish OR 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme and /or marjoram, plus a sprig or two (optional) for garnish
1) Roasting the poblanos.
Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly until the skin has blistered and blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes for the broiler. Be careful not to char the flesh, only the skin.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand for five minutes. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull out the stems and seed pods. Tear the chiles open and rinse briefly to remove any extra seeds and bits of skin. Slice in to 1/4 inch strips.

2) Searing the meat.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.  In a medium-large (4-6 quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela), heat the oil over medium-high. Lay in the short ribs in a single, uncrowded layer, working in batches if necessary. When richly browned on one side, about 5 minutes, turn them over and brown the other side, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove to a plate and tip off all but a generous coating of oil on the bottom of the pot.

3) The flavorings.
Set the pot back o nthe stove and reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute, then add the tomatoes. Stir occasionally until the tomatoes have softened and lost their juicy look (about 3 minutes for fresh tomatoes, 3 to 5 minutes for canned). Stir in poblano strips, one teaspoon salt and the herbs.

4) Braising the meat.
Nestle the browned meat into the  tomato mixture, spooning some of it over the top. Cover the pot (a piece of tin foil works for a cazuela) and set in the oven. After 1 1/2 hours, check the meat: it should be fork-tender. If not, re-cover and braise for an extra 15 minutes or so.

5) Serving the dish.
Using a spatula, remove the meat to a warm serving platter. Tip the pot to collect the chunky sauce at one side and spoon off the fat that rises to the top. Taste the sauce and season with additional salt if you think it needs it. Spoon the sauce around the meat. This homey dish doesn't actually need a garnish, but if you have a sprig of epazote, thyme or marjoram, it will look beautiful here.

Working Ahead:
There's a warm hominess to this dish if it's made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to reheat it (this may be done in a covered pot on the stove or in a 325 degree F oven; first discard any solidified fat from the surface). For a just -braised texture (and to ensure that your guests' mouths water from the aromas), you can prepare the dish through Step 3 and cover and refrigerate the two parts separately, then continue within a couple of hours of serving. The dish will hold well for an hour or so in a very low oven.

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