Twice a year, Sun Valley Magazine publishes a dining guide filled with articles about the Wood River Valley food scene. For the winter issue, I wrote a story about braising — that wonderful, slow cooking technique that turns tough cuts of meat into meltingly tender morsels. But meat isn’t the only benefactor of braising.
Long-time Hailey, Idaho chef Chris Kastner, of CK’s Real Food, braises winter root vegetables, too, and often uses vegetables as a thickening agent, instead of the traditional flour method.
Kastner was on holiday when I contacted him about contributing to my braising article. Biking and hiking through Arizona, far away from the bitter cold settling in the Wood River Valley, he dictated this recipe via text for his lighter-than-usual short ribs.
“This was a really good brain exercise, sitting here by the campfire chasing javelinas off my picnic table,” he said. “BRAZEN, those little guys.”
Gotta love chefs with a sense of humor.
I took his directions and headed to the kitchen to test the recipe. Let me just say I was blown away by the depth of flavors in this recipe. Kastner lightened up the tradition short rib daube by using white wine, mustard and copious amounts of vegetables — especially onions. It’s a dish he serves even in the summer. Trust me, you will love it.
CK’s Braised Short Rib Daube
Let it be known that Chris Kastner of CK’s Real Food in Hailey loves to cook with bones, but for this preparation, he prefers the ease of boneless short ribs. At CK’s, Kastner roasts seasoned carrots cut into coins and scattered over the cooked ribs before sprinkling with cheese for the final cooking step. To simplify the recipe, we’ve left out the extra carrot-roasting step, but kept the umami flavor-boosting from the cheese. One more piece of advice: have all your ingredients prepped before you begin. Prep time is almost an hour, and braising is 2-1/2 hours.
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Cook Time: 2-1/2 hours
- Total Time: 3-1/2 hours
- Yield: 4
- Category: beef
- Method: braising
- 3 pounds boneless short ribs
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (or duck fat or bacon fat), divided
- 3 small yellow onions, about 1-1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 small carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 6-7 parsley stems
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig sage
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
- 1-1/2 cups dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups beef or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon good quality white wine vinegar
- 1-1/2 cups grated pecorino
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat Dutch oven (5-quart capacity) over high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil (or fat) to pan. Work in batches, adding more oil when necessary, sear ribs until brown on each long flat side, about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Let pan come back to high temperature between batches. Set browned ribs aside.
- Turn heat to medium-high, add more oil and sauté onions until gingery gold, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make bouquet-garni by tying together the carrot, celery and parsley, thyme, sage and rosemary securely with butcher’s twine. Use 2 or 3 pieces of twine to make a tight bundle. Set aside for later.
- When onions are golden, stir in garlic, Dijon and mustard seeds. Sauté for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and let reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, stock, reserved meat and the bouquet garni bundle, tucking it deep in the liquid. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn off heat. Cover tightly with foil and place lid on top of foil. Place in oven and braise for 2-1/2 hours, or until ribs are fork-tender.
- Remove ribs from oven but leave oven on. Discard the bouquet-garni. Skim any fat and taste. Stir in white wine vinegar. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese and return to oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving. Taste broth to check for seasoning. It should taste bright and bold with plenty of salt. Adjust if necessary. Serve over starch (risotto, mashed potatoes) with a vegetable (roasted carrots, broccoli) in a flat bowl with plenty of broth. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and garnish with fresh herbs.