|Braised Jalapeño Soy Short Ribs|
|Right Food for the Season - Late Fall|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
In the hustle and bustle of the day to day, it's hard to commit to braising. Arriving home after work, one might not immediately feel the desire to get involved in a 3-plus-hour recipe. When it boils down to it, however, braising is a fairly "hands-off" technique. Searing the meat, an occasional basting, and a quick finish on the grill is about all it takes. That aside, braises are wonderful weekend fare. Once the ribs are in the oven, you can feel free to go outside and fill the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth lawn and leaf bag in the yard, or even head to your closest high school football game. On the other hand, there is something really special about what happens to your kitchen while the braise does its work.
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The even warmth emanating from your 200 degree oven, the increasingly powerful smells that permeate the space, and the pride of home-cooking all make one want to settle in for the day, read a good cookbook, and anticipate the comfort food that awaits.
For this recipe, I used beautiful, meaty, grass-finished short ribs from Caledonia Farm in Barre, MA. The local leeks and jalapeños at the market served as the inspiration for the flavor profile of the dish, and the plan quickly came together on the ride home. Since I was going to be working with short ribs (a cut that benefits from slow cooking), the braising technique was a given. When added to soy sauce, the leeks and jalapeños would make a nice marinade, giving the dish a nice balance of bite, heat, and salt. If I brought that to the umami of a braised short rib along with the delicate sweetness of grilled leeks on the finish and I'd have a winner. At its essence, this dish represents a variation on the classic combination of steak, peppers, and onions. No need to recreate the wheel, but putting new wheels on every once in a while can be a lot of fun.
Braised Jalapeño Soy Short Ribs (serves 4)
8 beef short ribs
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
2 cups leeks, (one cup, diced, 1 cup, 1/4 inch slices)
1-2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
In a small to medium-sized bowl, whisk together soy sauce, diced leeks, and sliced jalapeños. Whether you use one or two jalapeños depends upon your level of desired heat. This marinade will later serve as the major component of the liquid in your braising pan. Marinate the short ribs for as little as 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. When you are done marinating, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add butter. Once the butter has melted, remove short ribs from the marinade, pat dry, and sear on all sides. Placed seared short ribs in a braising pan so that they rest in one layer. Add the marinade back to the pan and add water to create a 1/2 inch of liquid on the bottom. I recommend using the smallest pan possible so that you do not have to add much water. Cover the pan and cook for three hours. You can get away with two hours if you are pressed for time. When the ribs are done braising, place a grill pan over medium-high heat (alternatively, you can complete this step on an outdoor grill). Allow the pan to heat, and add the ribs for a grilled finish. When the ribs are finished, remove them from the pan and set aside. Immediately add the sliced leeks to the grill pan and grill until tender. Place two ribs on each plate, spoon the juices from the braising pan, and make sure to retrieve the sliced jalapeños to top the ribs. Finally, add the grilled leeks to the plate.