Roosevelt is one of my local butchers. On the evening we met, I was buying short ribs, and Roosevelt was in a bad mood. Maybe he’s always in a bad mood, or maybe I just brought it out of him. Over the course of our interaction I attempted to draw Roosevelt out about his ideas for cooking short ribs, which he seemed to suggest he knew how to cook. After I – for the record, accurately – described the process of braising, Roosevelt reacted by growling at me, “You don’t know how to cook! I don’t have time to teach you to cook.” It’s hard to explain how we arrived at that point in the conversation, but suffice it to say that I thought it was an over-reaction, given that Roosevelt knew nothing about me, and I eventually told him so.
We didn’t become friends that evening, but we did part after shaking hands. I can’t say Roosevelt taught me a secret to cooking short ribs, but he did teach me something: if someone doesn’t know you and they insult you, tell them they’re wrong. If they won’t admit it, they’re stubborn or ignorant, and there’s no reason to argue with a stubborn or an ignorant person. Shake their hand and walk away.
Here is the recipe for Roosevelt’s “You Don’t Know How To Cook” Short Ribs:
5 or 6 meaty short ribs, about 6 lbs
2 slices bacon
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 onions, sliced thin
1 red chile, minced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
1 1/2 cups of Pinot Noir
1 pear, peeled, seeded and cubed (sweet, ripe) – ok to substitute apple
2 roma tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Generously salt all sides of ribs and refrigerate at least overnight, and up to 2 days.
Pre-heat oven to 275.
Heat some oil in a large skillet and cook the bacon until crisp. Meanwhile, dredge the ribs in flour, lightly coating all sides. Remove bacon from pan and adjust heat to high. Add ribs to the pan in batches and sear them on all sides. Remove seared short ribs to a roasting pan.
Using the same skillet, turn down the heat to medium, add more oil and cook celery, carrots, chile and onions until soft. Add chopped garlic and herb sprigs. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the pear and tomatoes with the Pinot Noir, vinegar, and black pepper to taste. Add the Pinot pear puree to the onions and crumble in the bacon. Simmer 2 minutes.
Pour the Pinot onion mixture over the ribs in the roasting pan. Seal the pan with foil and braise the ribs at 275 for about 4 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven but leave the ribs in for an hour.
After an hour, take out the ribs, remove the foil, and serve over polenta or mashed potatoes with the sauce from the pan.
Let me know if you like them.