This is the kind of food my family swoons over: shreddy, tender beef, in a rich broth that’s got enough fat in it to be lip-smacking. Beef short ribs are another kind of blank canvas food, and still another that requires an investment of time. The meat itself is stewy, and requires long simmering in flavorful broth to achieve what people really want in comfort food: melty, savory pieces of meat that feel nothing but good when going down. Short ribs are good cooked in red wine, with prunes and rosemary, with only a whole head of garlic and broth. Here, they’re paired up with sesame seeds and oil, adding nutty flavor, ginger and a bit of spice. The tablespoon of chile paste won’t knock your socks off, but if you’re wary, scale it back to a teaspoon. You can always add more.
From my October Times Union column. Read it here.
Broth Beef Short Ribs with Sesame, Ginger and Spice
9 pounds of boneless short ribs
Canola or vegetable oil
2 quarts of unsalted beef broth
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (see note)
1 ½” knob of ginger, sliced into rounds
Sliced green onions
Toasted sesame seeds
- Sprinkle all sides of each piece of meat with salt. In a large dutch oven set over medium heat, warm a few tablespoons of oil and sear the beef on all sides until browned and crisp. This takes some time, and try to not rush it, allowing for 5-6 minutes per side. Do this in batches so as not to crowd the pot, setting aside the finished pieces. When they are all seared, add all of the meat back to the pot and add the broth, soy, sesame oil, sambal and ginger. Bring to a gentle simmer and let it go for 20 minutes, covered.
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Transfer to the oven with the top on and roast for 3 hours, and then check that the meat is fork tender. Cook for another 30 minutes or so if it doesn’t give easily. Taste and add salt, if desired. Use tongs to remove the ginger slices.
- Serve the beef and broth over rice or tender greens (or both) and garnish with slivered green onions, toasted sesame seeds and Sambal Oelek.
- Note: Sambal Oelek is an Indonesian chile paste that’s got great flavor and a decent amount of heat. It can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket, or the Asian grocery (where it’s cheaper).