No-fuss short ribs
New Year’s Eve feast can be made ahead
When I interviewed Tanya Steel, the editor of the new Epicurious cookbook, I asked if she had a favourite recipe among the 250 four-fork winners.
At first, she gave me the expected answer: “It’s like choosing children,” she said, “you have favourites in different ways, for different kinds of occasions.”
Then she surprised me by singling one out: the Beef Short Ribs Tagine with its accompanying Honey-Glazed Butternut Squash.
“I make it a lot for Christmas,” said Steel, noting that, because Thanksgiving comes at the end of November in the United States, turkey is usually not also served at Christmas.
“The beef short ribs tagine is actually very easy and it can feed a crowd,” says Steel.
“And you can make it a day or two before.”
All of which, I figure, makes it an ideal dish for New Year’s Eve: special, slightly exotic, but with absolutely no fuss at the last minute.
“Amazing. Amazing, Amazing,” said one reviewer of the recipe on the Epicurious website.
“Beef ribs up here in Canada are harder to find and very expensive so I just used baby back pork ribs and it was just as good,” said a reviewer from Toronto.
“I made it for New Year’s Eve and people just couldn’t stop raving over the flavour,” said someone from California.
The site recommends pairing the dish with Syrah wines from South Africa or a pinot noir or zinfandel.
Beef Short Ribs Tagine
Makes: 8 servings 5 tbsp (75 mL) olive oil 1 lb (450 g) onions, chopped 16 (3- to 4-inch/8- to 10-cm) pieces meaty beef short ribs, any tough membranes trimmed 3 tbsp (50 mL) all-purpose flour 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken broth 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) dry red wine 1 cup (250 mL) prune juice 1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground allspice 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon 2 ounces (50 g) pitted dates, diced 2 ounces (50 g) dried pears, diced 1 tbsp.(15 mL) honey Honey-Glazed Butternut Squash (recipe follows) Fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F (160 C). Heat 3 tbsp (50 mL) oil in a heavy large Dutch oven or flame-proof casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until browned, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a large bowl. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil to the pot and add half the short ribs. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes, then transfer ribs to the bowl with the onions. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the pot, then the remaining ribs and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to same bowl.
2. Whisk the flour into the drippings in the pot. Whisk in 2 cups (500 mL) broth, the wine, prune juice, tomato paste and spices. Return the ribs to the pot, arranging close together on their sides in a single layer if possible. Add the dates and pears; add the onions and any juices. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and place in oven. Bake until the ribs are tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes.
3. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a large bowl. Strain the cooking liquid into a medium bowl, pressing on the contents of the strainer. Freeze the liquid until the fat rises to the top, about 30 minutes. Spoon off the fat and return liquid to the pot. Add the honey and boil until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon and is reduced to 3 cups (750 mL), about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the ribs to the pot, spooning the sauce over to coat.
4. Rewarm the ribs over medium-low hear, stirring occasionally. Mound the ribs on a platter. Top with the squash; garnish with parsley.