Braise Days

October 11, 2007


I wish I could capture the feeling (and scent!) in my house right now. It’s 5:00, the sky is the color of a dove and the mist just solidified into rain. But there’s a warmth pervading the air that has nothing to do with the thermostat. 

I have the first braise of the season in the oven.

Why is it that as the days get grayer, the light inside seem to glow a tad warmer, and anything cooking over a slow, mellow heat in the oven seems to suffuse our very souls with comfort?

Right now, Noe is playing at my feet. She’s enamored with two plastic cups that, when pulled apart, make a whistling sound. I am enamored with the little giggle of wonder she emits each time she does it (and I think we’re at about 50th time right now). My husband will be walking through the door any minute into a house that—thanks to the braise and my daughter, and not necessarily in that order—exudes home tonight and I feel like my heart is smiling. It’s moments like these that I just want to bundle up and carry with me throughout the rest of my life.

And here, my friends, is what’s in the oven . . . the dish that inspired this cozy post. I originally developed it with lamb shanks for the September issue of Cooking Light. But I struck out twice at the market with lamb this week, and Christopher’s been craving beef. So it’s beef short ribs in the doufeu tonight in lieu of lamb. I’m serving it with cubes of sticky-savory roasted sweet potato and I think it’s gonna be gooood.

Before I turn over the recipe, though, I wanted to expand the circle of warmth by “tagging” a few fellow food bloggers and asking them to share their favorite braises.

Amanda (Figs, Olives, Wine) ; Molly (Orangette) ; Nicole (Pinch My Salt) ; Katie (Thyme for Cooking) ; Kalyn (Kalyn’s Kitchen) . . . would you share with us a recipe for your favorite braise? And heck, if you feel like it, tag five more of your favorite food blogs and we’ll see if we can get a “braise tag” going. (And . . . if I’m going about this tag thing the wrong way, please have mercy and send me an e-mail to set me straight)

{ Braised Beef Short Ribs with Orange and Olives }

While this dish takes more than three hours to complete, it can be left unattended much of the time. Nestle the ribs in the pan so they’re surrounded by cooking liquid. The long, slow braising process yields fork-tender, succulent meat.

1 tablespoon olive oil 
8 (12-ounce) beef short ribs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
4 kalamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge ribs in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess flour. Brown ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary not to crowd, and remove to a plate.

Add garlic to pan; sauté for 1 minute. Add orange juice, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in wine; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes. Stir in beef broth, thyme, and tomato paste; return to a boil. Remove from heat.

Add ribs back to pan; cover and bake at 350° for 2 hours. Stir in rind and olives; bake an additional 30 minutes or until beef is very tender. Remove ribs and place on a platter; keep warm.

Place a large zip-top plastic bag inside a 4-cup glass measure. Pour cooking liquid into bag and refrigerate 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain cooking liquid and olives into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Bring cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 cups (about 20 minutes).

Reduce heat to low, nestle ribs back in pan and warm through.

Serves 6




29 Responses to “Braise Days”

  1. gingatao! Says:

    Yummy. Have you a spare seat at table for an indigent poet? You have awakened my senses with your luxurious language of food.

  2. lia Says:

    Oh please do join us, gingatao. I’m so glad my words have awakened your senses. In fact, I’ve been noodling ways to celebrate the conjoining of words, wine and food and will probably be hitting you up for some poetry some day soon.

  3. […] came across this post – Braise Days – and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you find it interesting too and take the time to read […]

  4. Katiez Says:

    That sounds and looks sooo good. I’ve just been getting into ‘braising’ again myself. I tell me that it helps to heat up the kitchen before we succumb and turn the furnace on but it’s really because I just love the smells and the food. I gladly accept your tag and repair to my kitchen to ponder….something new? something tried and true? and only ONE!?!?

  5. izzy's mama Says:

    That certainly does look like home to me. YUM! I haven’t gotten to my first braise yet..maybe next weekend.

  6. Jo Says:

    Oh I love to braise…….the way the meat just slips off the bone when it’s just right and you can tell just by looking how tender it will be.

  7. lia Says:

    Katiez — I can’t wait to see what you decide! And heck, bring on more than one if you’re so inspired . . .

    Izzy’s Mama — I hope the braise warms your day with Izzy as much as it did my day with Noe.

    Jo — Once again, you captured it perfectly. I love your words!

  8. Nicole Says:

    Hi Lia,

    Thanks for the tag, I’ll see what I can come up with! 🙂

    Beautiful, warm, and cozy post!

  9. lia Says:

    I’ll look forward to it, Nicole! Thanks!

  10. Elisabeth Says:

    What beautiful writing – your description of home and comfort sounds heavenly!

  11. I love the orange rind and olives here! How wonderful, and what a fantastically cozy evening you must have had together. This is such a great time of year, and I’m sure I’ll have a braise up on Figs soon!

  12. PS. Thanks for the shout out!

  13. lia Says:

    Thank you Elisabeth!

    Amanda . . . I’ll look forward to it and will be doing a round-up here. In the meantime, I’ll be making your porchetta pizza, mmmmm.

  14. Mmmmmmmm….I can’t wait to make this! My husband is usually the one cooking ribs around here, but I’ll be making this one! Thanks for the recipe!

  15. 5booked Says:

    We’re just now feeling autumn’s chill where we live. I’m looking forward to some time by the fire with a comforting plate of short ribs…thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Karen Says:

    Short ribs by the fire + red wine = a cozy night in!
    So glad fall is here…

  17. lia Says:

    You’re so welcome all — hope you enjoy the recipe! And Karen, well said indeed.

  18. janelle Says:

    Yum. Look at that bowlfull! Now why do I get the feeling this was not a napkin-free meal?

    Cheers to the beginning of a new season!

  19. lia Says:

    You got that right, Janelle. Serious napkins where needed! 😉

  20. […] read more | digg story […]

  21. C'tina Says:

    ohhh, and I have left over sweet potato from the grill yesterday…with olive oil, brown sugar and Tony Chachere’s seasoning, some a little charred…but sticky and savory nonetheless…

  22. lia Says:

    Man, C’tina, does that sound good. I might have to give that a go before de-gooing my grill for the winter . . .

  23. […] 9th, 2007 A few weeks back, I tagged a few of my fellow bloggers and asked them to share their favorite braises. Some, in turn, tagged others and thus a Braisy […]

  24. […] few weeks back, I tagged a few of my fellow bloggers and asked them to share their favorite braises. Some, in turn, tagged others and thus a Braisy […]

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  27. […] Swirling Notions tagged me for my favorite braise a few weeks ago.  Anything braised is my favorite; I love slow cooked meats of any and every kind, but this one with just-picked apples,  seems perfect for the season.  Plus it's the most recent one I've made […]

  28. […] Swirling Notions tagged me for my favorite braise a few weeks ago.  Anything braised is my favorite; I love slow cooked meats of any and every kind, but this one with just-pi.jpgcked apples,  seems perfect for the season.  Plus it's the most recent one I've made […]

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