The bones in the short ribs add great flavor to this dish; however, you could also make it with big chunks of beef chuck. If you do, reduce the initial cooking time of the meat by about half. The pestata of almonds and porcini does double duty here, adding a rich earthiness to the sauce and helping to thicken it without flour. As much as I enjoy Italian wine with my meals, since this recipe contains beer, here I would accompany it with one of the good artisanal beers coming out of Italy.
Beer-Braised Short Ribs
- 1/4 cup dried porcini
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin onlive oil
- 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 12 ounces dark ale
- 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium store-bough
- 3 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 pound small red potatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Combine the porcini and almonds in the work bowl of amini-food processor. Pulse to make an almost smooth pestata. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the short ribs with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Brown the short ribs all over, removing them to a plate as they brown, about 5 minutes per batch.
- Add the carrots, and toss to coat in the oil. Cook the carrots until they begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes; then make a space in the pan, and add the tomato paste there. Cook and toast the tomato paste in that space until it darkens a shade or two, about 1 minute. Add the thyme and bay leaves, and stir to combine. Add the pestata, and stir to toast lightly1 to 2 minutes. Add the beer, bring it to a boil, and cook until the beer is reduced by half. Add back the short ribs, and add 4 cups of the chicken stock. Adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering, set the lid ajar, and simmer until the short ribs are almost tender, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Add the remaining 2 cups stock, the onions, and the potatoes. Return to a simmer, and cook until everything is very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, about 40 to 50 minutes more. Stir in the parsley, remove the bay leaves, and serve.