This is NOT a Weight Watchers Recipe

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All photos by Ray Hydrick

Since the first of the year Josh and I have been trying to make lighter meals.  Now, I may have stumbled a few times and led you astray.  This recipe will fall into that category…well, lets just say that Weight Watchers will not be adding this to their points menu.  Why did I fall from the healthy graces and make this indulgent recipe?  Because it is so darn good.

One of my favorite restaurants here in Birmingham is 26.  Owned and operated by Executive Chef George Reis, this little gem should be in Manhattan but has found a place here in our little city.  One of their dishes has caught both mine and Josh’s appetite.  It is Citrus Braised Short Ribs.  So I decided to make them…without a recipe.  I have watched several chefs on TV make these gems but never tried it myself, until now.

I looked for the short ribs and both SAMs and COSTCO to be cost-effective but they were cut differently and would turn into ribs nuggets.  So I went to Whole Foods — the tried and true place to find these kinds of cuts, but at the price of my right leg.

Mischief Note:  You must plan ahead for this dish.  It cooks at a low temperature and for a long time, so this is not a last-minute meal.  Now let’s get started.

See, a lot of fat in those ribs. It doesn't evaporate.

Citrus Braised Shorts Ribs
4 lbs Beef Shorts Ribs
3 medium carrots, large diced
2 large leeks, cleaned, halved and large diced
3 medium ribs of celery, large diced
4 cloves garlic, large sliced
3 oz (half a can) of tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup orange juice
Zest of two oranges
4 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
1 carton (32 oz) of beef stock
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large dutch oven (or large oven proof pan with a lid), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle each rib with salt and pepper on both sides.

Salt and Pepper makes everything better

Sear each rib on each side to brown and caramelize (sear in batches if necessary) — approx 3 minutes per side. Place on plate once browned.  Continue until all pieces are seared and placed on plate.

Make sure each side is brown and caramelized

Add carrot, leeks and celery to the pan (add oil if none is remaining).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute until soft,

Don't forget to rinse your leek, they can get dirty.

approx. 7-10 minutes.  Add garlic.  Saute another minute.

The "holy trinity" of cooking

Add tomato paste.  Stir and cook until caramelized (approx 2 minutes).  Add wine and orange juice to deglaze the pan, scraping all brown bits from bottom of pan. Add orange zest, thyme and bay leaves.

Just the beginning of its goodness

Add the ribs back to the pan.  Add beef stock until ribs are covered with liquid.  Cover dutch oven with lid and place in oven.  Cook for 3 hours, turning the ribs once to ensure even cooking.

Once done, remove ribs from pot and place on plate.   You have two choices — #1 Remove the veggies and discard or #2 blend the veggies in the sauce using a hand blender, food processor or blender until smooth. I chose #2 but I wish I followed option one.  After blending the veggies, it looked like baby food.

Cut meat from rib bone and serve over polenta (see below).

Serving Suggestion:
I served the ribs over Parmesan polenta.  This is how I did it.  I followed the package directions for the polenta but substituting half the water for beef stock.  Once made, add a tablespoon of butter and 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Bobby Flay Throwdown?:
So I met Josh at 26 this week for a planning meeting.  While we were enjoying the nice happy hour martini, George (owner & Executive Chef) sat down and chit chatted with us for a little bit (he’s a very nice guy). During our lovely conversation,  Josh revealed to him that I tried making his rib dish, the conversation went something like this:

Josh: Matthew made your braised short ribs.
Matthew: (gave Josh the eyes of death – similar to the ones he gave David during sushi week)
George: Great!  Did you get the recipe off al.com?
Matthew: There’s a recipe?!

Well, needless to say, George was very supportive and asked about the details.  He gave me three tips…cook at a lower temp, cook the ribs longer and add orange zest/juice of one orange per rib.  If you decide to make the recipe above, take note of his suggestions (300 degrees and for 3 1/2 to 4 hours)…however, I still like my ratio of orange zest.   The final part of the conversation went something like this:

George: I would love to try them.  Put them side-by-side, like a Bobby Flay Throwdown.
Matthew: (Peed just a little)

These ribs were fabulous.  I thoroughly enjoyed making them and eating them, BUT this is an every-once-in-awhile dish. Why?   The meat is pricey and calories will knock anyone off their diet.  So make a plan to indulge, you will not regret it.  Just let’s us know if you do…we can add you to the Throw Down list with George.  😉

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7 Responses to “This is NOT a Weight Watchers Recipe”

  1. Jamie Says:

    I bet that these taste great. I will have to find one of those expensive pans and try this out myself.

    • Matthew Says:

      I thought you tasted some…I brought it to you. Hmmm, feed it to the dogs? I think your tatse-testing job may be over Mr. Hodge. 😉

      • Jamie Says:

        I did taste it – over and over and over until the bowl was empty. I thought licking the bowl might be a bit much, but the idea did cross my mind.

  2. Ben Says:

    I’M IN !!!!!!
    Jennifer goes on vacation in October… I will be indulging all weekend long!

  3. Ray Says:

    This is a very decadent dish and is so worth the time invested.

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