braised short ribs with celeriac puree + horseradish breadcrumbs

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Beef short ribs are the absolute best cut of beef for slow cooking. The most tender and succulent fall apart beef you will ever have – that you would pay an arm and a leg for at a top restaurant. Cooked long and slow in a rich red wine sauce, these beef ribs are easy enough for mid week dinner, and most definitely impressive enough for company.

As with all slow cooked dishes like beef stew, we start by aggressively browning the beef short ribs. After that, we slowly sauté garlic, leek, onion, carrot, celery and beef prosciutto. The longer you saute these root vegetables, the more intense the flavor of the sauce.  Then add tomato paste to add tartness and to thicken the sauce, beef stock, full-bodied red wine, fresh thyme, bay leaves and fennel seeds. Plonk the lid on and then either slow cook in the oven , on the stove (my preferred method), in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.

The time it takes for the beef to become fall apart tender varies depending on what cooking method you use. In the oven it takes roughly three hours at 16oC. On the stove the short ribs will braise for two and a half hours. Pressure cooker requires one hour and the slow cooker about six to eight hours.

The creamy celeriac puree is a great alternative to mashed potatoes. My husband refused to believe this was not mashed potatoes. Celeriac is the root of a plant which is a close relative to common celery.  The flavor of the leafy top is more potent than common celery, however, the root has a much more delicate celery flavor.

To make the celeriac puree; carefully wash and peel all of the skin before cubing it. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, salt, celeriac, potatoes, leek, and the water and simmer, covered, until the celeriac and potatoes are tender, about thirty minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving one cup of the liquid. Transfer the celeriac, potatoes, and leek to a food processor and puree them with the butter until they’re smooth, creamy, and free of lumps. If the puree is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper.

braised short ribs with celeriac puree + horseradish breadcrumbs

  • serves serves four persons
  • prep time thirty minutes
  • total time two hours

ingredients

  • two kilograms of bone-in beef short ribs
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • a third of a cup of olive oil
  • one hundred grams of beef prosciutto
  • one medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • four garlic cloves, halved
  • one leek, halved and chopped
  • one tablespoon of fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • three carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • one celery stalk, cut
  • three hundred milliliters of full-bodied red wine
  • two tablespoons of tomato paste
  • two tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • one liter of beef stock
  • two cups of whole milk, for the celeriac puree
  • five hundred grams of celeriac, peeled and cut, for the celeriac puree
  • five hundred grams of potatoes, peeled and cut, for the celeriac puree
  • one leek, halved and chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, for the celeriac puree
  • two tablespoons of unsalted butter, for the celeriac puree
  • half a cup of coarse bread crumbs, for the horseradish breadcrumbs
  • one tablespoon of olive oil, for the horseradish breadcrumbs
  • two cloves of garlic, finely chopped, for the horseradish breadcrumbs
  • one cup finely chopped parsley, for the horseradish breadcrumbs
  • two tablespoons peeled and grated fresh horseradish, for the horseradish breadcrumbs
  • one teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, for the horseradish breadcrumbs
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper, for the horseradish breadcrumbs

instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

  2. To make the short ribs; season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium to high heat and working in batches, sear the short ribs until well browned on all sides, about ten minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the short ribs to a large plate.

  3. Drain all but two tablespoons of fat from the pot and add the beef prosciutto. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, and add the crushed fennel seeds, onion, garlic, leek, thyme, carrots, and celery.

  4. Cook, stirring occasionally or until the leeks have softened. Add the wine, tomato paste, vinegar, and stock and bring them to a boil. Return the short ribs to the pot, and cook for five to eight more minutes.

  5. Transfer all the meat, vegetables and sauce to an oven-proof dish and broil in the oven to two hours.

  6. Remove the dish from the oven and transfer the short ribs and carrots to a large platter. Also, discard the thyme. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then return the strained liquid to the pot.

  7. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another twenty minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half. Skim any excess fat on the surface. Return the short ribs to the pot, turning them so they’re evenly coated, and season with salt and pepper.

  8. To make the celeriac puree; in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, salt, celeriac, potatoes, leek, and the water and simmer, covered, until the celeriac and potatoes are tender, about thirty minutes.

  9. Drain the potatoes, reserving one cup of the liquid. Transfer the celeriac, potatoes, and leek to a food processor and puree them with the butter until they’re smooth, creamy, and free of lumps. If the puree is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper.

  10. To make the horseradish breadcrumbs, toast the bread crumbs in a small sauté pan with the oil over medium heat until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, horseradish, zests, and bread crumbs, then season with salt and pepper.

  11. Serve by dividing the celeriac puree among individual plates, topping with the short ribs, carrots, and sauce and serve accompanied by the horseradish bread crumbs.

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