Christmas has come to an end. The shopping, the gifts, quality time with family and way too much chocolate. It’s been mild as far as Winter goes. The rain incessant at times. Dark grey clouds lay low hugging the tops of the coastal mountains; they feel almost close enough to reach out and touch. There’s a chance for snow tonight. Seth and I have a few gift certificates to The Keg from the wedding so we’ll walk there tonight for dinner while my recipe slowly cooks in the oven.
My work days fell precisely on all the Holiday days, so I got 13 days off in a row. It’s nice to wind down after all the excitement. Boxing day was spent on the couch under fluffy blankets, snacking on leftover turkey and indulging in a Harry Potter marathon on TV. The rain poured all day. It was heaven.Although a cozy day-in after the festivities was in order, I’m one of those busy bodies that writes lists and needs to have something on the go. Always on my lists is cooking up something delicious. Cooking is like meditation; an hour or two methodically chopping, sauteing, baking. My Pacific Northwest Chill playlist gently playing in the background, fairy lights lit and a foodie candle in a warm vanilla caramel scent. There’s something sacred about the ritual. For our wedding my friend Jo Ann gifted us a gorgeous red dutch oven. I’ve wanted one since the day I went to dinner years ago at her home and she made Beuf Bourgignon in hers. A lot of people seem to think of cooking as something tedious. Recipes should be as easy and quick as possible. They have so much other things to do that cooking gets in the way. It’s sad really. Believe me, the more time you spend, the better it’ll taste, except in the case of my cheddar-y goodness risotto which I make in under 20 minutes, but that’s for another blog.
My mother in-law brought me a jar of home made Mole (mo-lay) powder from her most recent trip to Mexico City. Her friend Luis and his wife made it. Mole is made with spices, chillies and cocoa powder. It’s sweet and spicy so when I decided I’d do braised ribs in the dutch oven for dinner tomorrow (I’ll explain later) I thought why not add the Mole to it. I mean a good piece of dark chocolate with a glass of red wine go pretty well together. This is my recipe for Braised Ribs With Mexican Mole (in red wine).
You Will Need
3 pounds of bone-in beef short ribs
2 Tablespoons of high smoking point oil (I used organic coconut)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
3 Teaspoon of Mole powder (Or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, sliced into medium wedges
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups of liquid: I used 1 cup of beef broth and 2-3 cups of red wine.
2 to 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons of dry terragon
Dutch oven or deep sauté pan with a lid (that can go in the oven)
If you can’t find Mole powder you can either leave it out all together or use
1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/2 a cup of dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup of brown sugar (or honey)
1/2 tsp of pepper flakes (or to taste)
Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. Arrange the rack in the lower third of the oven, remove the racks above it.
Massage each short rib with the olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Heat the Dutch oven or deep pan at high heat. Add the coconut oil then the short ribs in one layer, leaving room between each and working in batches if necessary. It’s a good idea to turn on your hood fan, if you have one! Sear the short ribs without moving for several minutes on each side, letting them brown deeply. Use tongs to turn and sear all sides. Move to a plate.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and garlic and cook until they soften, about 5 minutes. Then add the ribs back into the pot.
Add the broth, wine, Mole powder and herbs and bring to a simmer.
After the liquid comes to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Braise in the oven until the meat is very tender and pulling away from the bone. 2 to 2 1/2 hours is about time.
The reason I earlier said I was making this dish for tomorrow is because although the short ribs can be served immediately, they are a very fatty cut, which makes the dish greasy. I prefer to let the ribs sit in the sauce and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate them overnight.
Before re-heating the following day you want to scrape away the hardened layer of fat from the top. The meat will also improve in flavour and tenderness while resting overnight.
You can serve this dish right away. When the meat is done, rest in a covered pan for 20 minutes before serving. Serve by gently tugging the chunks of meat away from the bone and spooning the saucy onions over top.
If you’re making them like me and serving them the next day:
Reheat covered over low heat on the stove for 15 to 20 minutes.
I will be serving mine with garlic mashed potatoes. Other options could be over polenta or rice.
Braising takes time but is a very simple process technically. This is a wonderfully rich and flavourful dish perfect for Winter and great for entertaining guests. Think: Winter, the house whirling with the scent of spices and chocolate. Your guests seated around a candle lit table. You place the pot in the centre of the table and the lid comes off while your guests ooh and ahh as you ladle creamy mash and smother it with fall-off-the-bone beef in a deep dark broth.
Wishing you a warm Winter season.