Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree

The last time I had short ribs in a restaurant I paid $23 for the plate.

They were great, but I’d argue the ribs I made at home were much better, for much cheaper.

I struggled last week with The Fat Dude Diet, but one bite of Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree erased the exhaustion and laziness that prevented me from cooking to my full potential last week.

Let’s get down to business, y’all.

The Recipe (Yield: 4 servings)

Short ribs
1 T vegetable oil
4 short ribs (about 8-10 oz each including bones)
flour, just enough to lightly coat the short ribs
1 carrot, peeled and rough chopped
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 small yellow onion, rough chopped
1 1/2 t chopped thyme
1/2 6-oz. can tomato paste (3 oz.)
2 cups red wine
2-3 cups beef stock

Cauliflower puree
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup low fat or non-fat milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Spinach
5-oz. baby spinach
1 T water
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook time: 6-12 hrs.

We’re going to get the meat out of the way, and then take care of the veggies. Start by removing the silver fat from 4 short ribs.

Season short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour until lightly coated. Let the ribs sit out and come closer to room temperature while you cut the veggies.

Roughly chop 1 carrot, 2 stalks of celery, 1 small yellow onion and 1 1/2 t of thyme.

Heat 1 T of vegetable oil in a pan on high heat and cook short ribs on all sides until they have a nice golden brown crust, about 1-2 minutes per side.

Remove the ribs from the pan. Add carrot, onion and celery, cooking for 3-4 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add thyme and 3 oz. of tomato paste (1/2 of 6 oz. can). Stir and cook until the veggies are coated with the paste, and the ingredients lightly stick to the bottom of the pan.

Deglaze the pan with 2 cups of red wine and bring to a light boil (keep the heat hot enough that it boils, but cool enough that it doesn’t splatter everywhere).

Reduce the mixture by half. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

Put short ribs in the slow cooker and top with reduced pan sauce and vegetables. Add 2-3 cups of beef stock, or enough to ensure the ribs are about 80 percent covered with liquid.

Cook on low for up to 12 hours. I was short on time, so I cooked mine for 6 hours and they were fall-off-the-bone ridiculous. I can only imagine what would have happened had I left them in for 8 hours, or the full 12. I’d say 6 is minimal, 8 is acceptable and 12 is optimal.

When the timer expires, remove the ribs from the slow cooker and strain the liquid from the vegetables. You can eat or toss them.

Skim the fat off of the top of the sauce with a spoon or ladle, and reduce the liquid over medium-high heat, until it coats the back of a spoon. This should take about 15 minutes.

While the sauce is thickening, you can make the two other components of this dish.

For the cauliflower puree, cut 1 head of cauliflower into very small florets.

In a medium pot, bring 1 cup of milk, 2 cups of water, 1 1/2 t of salt and 1/2 t of pepper to a boil. Add cauliflower and reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. The smaller the cauliflower, the quicker this cooks.

When the cauliflower is tender, remove the florets and put into a blender, but don’t get rid of the cooking liquid. Add a little of the cooking liquid into the blender to get the puree started and add more as needed until you get a smooth creamy puree. Season more if needed.

For the greens, wilt 5 oz. of spinach with 1 T of water in a large saute pan over high heat. Season with salt and pepper.

To plate: Spoon 3/4 cup of cauliflower puree on the bottom of the plate. Top with a nice mound of spinach. Place a short rib in the sauce pan, coating it evenly, then place the rib on top of the cauliflower and spinach. Sprinkle chopped parsley if you would like some added color and vibrancy.

This is a lot of work, but it’s worth every second. Rich, decadent, and best of all, it’s made at home!

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