braised short ribs, aka how to win hearts and minds

This dish is everything that is magical about cooking. You take a cheap cut of meat and a cheap starch and turn them into a meal that would make someone fall in love with you. Braised short ribs over mashed potatoes drizzled with jus is everything you want out of a good meal—simple, satisfying, and supremely comforting.

Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes
2 lbs flanken style short ribs (plan for 2 pieces/ribs per person)
1 T canola oil
1 onion, cut into eighths
2 carrots, cut into 1 – 2 inch chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 1 – 2 inch chunks
3 garlic cloves
2 cups red wine
3 sprigs thyme
2 cups chicken, vegetable or beef stock
salt and pepper

Sprinkle all sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium heat in a cast iron dutch oven (or other stove and oven safe dish). Sear each side of the meat until it is a deep brown color. Your house will smell amazing at this point. Remove the beef from the dish and put it on a plate.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the vegetables and saute until light brown, about 20 minutes. Add the red wine and thyme. Bring to a boil. Return the meat to the dish. At this point, you can continue to braise the meat or you can put the whole dish in the fridge and finish it the next day. Trust me, only good things happen when you let meat marinade in red wine overnight.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Add the broth to the meat. The broth will not cover the meat entirely, which is just fine. Cook covered for an hour and a half. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the lid to allow some of the liquid to evaporate and the meat to brown. Cook for 45 more minutes, turning the meat once or twice. Meanwhile, make the potatoes.

After 45 minutes of additional cooking, remove the dish from the oven. Take the meat and vegetables from the dish and cover with tin foil to keep warm. Skim the excess fat of the braising liquid. The liquid should have thickened considerably into an amazing beefy sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the meat and vegetables to the dish and cover to keep warm.

Mashed Potatoes
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes (Yukon golds make the best mashed potatoes. Russets can be grainy.)
4 T butter, cut into 1 T pieces
1/4 cup milk

Put a pot of salted water to boil. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Boil the potatoes for 30 minutes, until fork tender. Strain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. I used my stand mixer to make mashed potatoes for the first time. It was awesome and I recommend it highly. Add the butter to the potatoes and start to whisk. Add the milk and beat until smooth and fluffy.

To serve, make a mound mashed potatoes, top with the ribs and cover with sauce. Pour the remaining sauce in a gravy boat and bring that to the table as well. Add a side of green beans for good measure.

-Emily