Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze
Adapted from All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
4 lbs meaty bone-in short ribs (Flanken or English style)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced in 1/2″ thick rings
1 carrot, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2 cups porter ale, or more if needed
3/4 cup beef, chicken, or veal stock
1 rosemary sprig (3-4″ long)
1 large bay leaf (or 2 small)
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 rosemary sprigs (3-4″)
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
Sparingly trim any excess fat from ribs, but be careful not to take off any bits of fat that hold the ribs together, and maintain a thick fat cap along one side of the ribs.
You can optionally salt the ribs one or two days before braising – just sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of salt onto the meat, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge. This will promote browning of the meat but is not a critical step.
The day you are making the ribs, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pat ribs dry, being careful to not remove the salt if they were previously salted. Season ribs with pepper (and salt if not previously salted).
Pour the olive oil into a shallow dutch oven or wide oven-proof skillet with lid (4-6 quart capacity). Heat over medium heat. Brown short ribs in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the meat. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side until nicely browned. Transfer seared ribs to a platter and keep aside until all ribs are browned.
Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium heat and add in onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook until just softened and beginning to caramelize – approximately 5 minutes.
Add the ale into the pot and bring to a full boil. Cook for two minutes. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any remaining fond. Pour in the stock and bring liquid to a boil again. Reduce heat to a simmer and place ribs in the pot in a single layer. Pour any juices released from the ribs into the pot as well. Tuck the rosemary sprig and bay leaves in between the ribs. Check the liquid level of the pot to make sure the ribs are all partially submerged in the liquid. If necessary add more ale.
Cover pan with a piece of parchment paper which extends past the sides and tightly fit lid in place. Place pot in the oven and cook maintaining a gentle simmer for about 2 1/2 hours (until ribs are fork tender). While braising, gently turn the ribs with tongs, as not to tear up the meat, every 45 minutes until done. Check after the first 10 minutes to make sure the liquid is not simmering to strongly, if necessary turn down the oven by 10-15 degrees to maintain a gentle simmer.
While the ribs are braising, make the glaze. Combine maple syrup and the rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, turn off heat, cover with a lid, and set aside for an hour to infuse the flavors. (You can do this a few days ahead of time and store glaze in the fridge.)
When the ribs have finished braising, carefully transfer the meat using tongs and a slotted spoon to a flameproof shallow baking dish big enough to fit the ribs in a single layer. Do your best to keep the bones and ribs intact, but if a few slip out don’t worry – just discard them. Scoop out the vegetables with the slotted spoon and place around the ribs. Cover the dish with foil and keep warm.
Tilt braising pot to gather juices in one end and skim off as much surface fat as possible with a big spoon. If you have a gravy separator, it would work well here. Pour the remaining liquid into a medium saucepan and reduce (if necessary) to 1/2 cup of liquid by simmering strongly for 10-15 minutes. Reduced sauce should be syrupy. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
If you are preparing the ribs a day ahead of time, pour reduced sauce over the ribs. If you are not preparing the dish ahead of time, proceed to the next paragraph. Allow the dish to cool, cover tightly with foil, and place in fridge. The next day place covered ribs in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until warmed through. Then proceed with glaze.
Heat the broiler on high. If glaze is coming out of the fridge, warm it slightly so it is pourable. Remove rosemary sprigs from glaze, squeezing them with your fingers to save as much glaze as possible. Pour reduced sauce around ribs (if making the same day). Then brush the glaze on top of the short ribs. Place the dish under the broiler and watch closely. The glaze will turn the surface of the ribs shiny and you will hear them sizzle. Remove after about 4 minutes once the ribs start to sizzle – this is a step to be watched closely or you risk burning the ribs.
Transfer the ribs to serving plates and spoon the liquid around the ribs (not on top or you’ll wash off the glaze!). Serve immediately.