Photo: Douglas Merriam
Yield
4 servings (serving size: 2 ribs and 2 tablespoons cooking liquid)

Serve this hearty winter dish over mashed potatoes. You can prepare the braised short ribs and reheat just before serving. Reheat the beef on the grill to give a hint of smoky flavor, if you like. Veal demi-glace—veal stock reduced to a concentrated gelatin—adds depth and richness to the sauce. Our favorite brand is Bonewerks Culinarte, which is available at lobels.com under the pantry section. Williams-Sonoma also carries a store brand.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef evenly on all sides with salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add beef to pan; sauté for 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan.

Step 3

Add diced onion, diced celery, diced carrot, and chopped leek to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Place peppercorns, juniper berries, 3 thyme sprigs, and bay leaves on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Place herb and spice bundle in pan; return beef to pan. Dissolve demi-glace in 3/4 cup hot water, stirring well. Add demi-glace mixture and wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 350° for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is fork tender. Remove beef from pan; strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard solids. Serve cooking liquid with beef. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Step 4

Wine note: With the richness of short ribs, you need to pull out a cabernet as an accompaniment. (Well-marbled beef loves to tame this grape's tannins.) Slingshot 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is a Napa bottle that, at $23, won't break the bank. But it offers beautiful nuances of cedar, spice (juniper's a big player), and aromatic dried cherries, with bright acidity. —Sara Schneider

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