Braised Beef Short Ribs with Roasted Squash
Shorter days, changing colors on the trees and the end of the harvest makes me think only one thing… Squash. There are a thousand varieties and I have only eaten my way through a few hundred so it’s an exciting time. I like to use this recipe to make a simple yet elegant meal for my wife and me on a cozy fall night. I suggest using kombucha squash but you can substitute pretty much any fall squash. Butternut, acorn, and pumpkin are some common choices but I encourage you to take the squash challenge with me and try new ones all of the time.
The braised beef ribs pair perfectly with the hearty squash and herbs. The colors and flavors highlight the best of fall. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It’s definitely comforting food for me.
- Chef Rob
Serves 4 to 6
4 pounds beef short ribs (pork or lamb ribs work too!)
½ cup Hazelnut flour (All Purpose flour may be substituted)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 medium sweet onion large diced
1 carrot peeled and large diced
1 parsnip peeled and large diced
2 stalks of celery large diced
½ pound cipolin onions peeled
1 quart chicken stock
½ cup cream
2 cups Brandy + 2 shots (use a drinkable brandy but don’t waste a high-end one, save that for sipping after dinner)
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs sage + 4 large sage leaves with no stems
3 medium bay leaves
4 allspice berries
1 medium Kombucha squash cleaned of seeds and skin and large diced
2 Tablespoons garam masala or Chinese 5 spice
1 medium shallot julienned
½ cup (1-stick) unsalted butter
½ c. canola oil
For the beef braise:
This is best made the day before so it can sit in its juices overnight but absolutely can be made day of.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Set the beef on a paper towel on the counter. In a mixing bowl mix the hazelnut flour, a pinch of salt a pinch of fresh ground pepper and the paprika. Place the beef in the pan and rub all over so it is totally coated then shake the beef dry and set aside on a new paper towel. The reason you are using paper towels is to get a nice sear on the beef you want to make sure it is very dry.
In a small pot bring the chicken stock (reserving 1/4 cup for later) rosemary, sage, thyme bay, peppercorns and allspice and 1 cup of brandy to a simmer. Keep simmering for about ten minutes.
In a medium sized sauté pan heat the canola oil until it shimmers. Add the sage leaves quickly (be careful they will pop) cook for 30 seconds, then using a tongs remove from the pan and let dry on a plate. (This step is optional but makes a pretty impressive garnish for your dish)
With the pan still hot .Carefully add the beef ribs and make sure to go slow enough to not splatter the oil. Sear on all sides to a nice golden brown. Just before turning to the last side add 1 Tablespoon of butter to the pan and let it brown. Finish searing the beef, roll it around in the butter then set aside while keeping the pan at medium heat.
Add the carrot, parsnip, onion and celery to the pan reducing the heat so as to caramelize but not burn them. Cook them until just tender then add 1 cup of brandy. (If you are using an open flame burner remove the pan from the heat, add the brandy then put it back on the heat. THE PAN WILL FLARE UP! So please be very careful while cooking the alcohol off) cook for 5-6 minutes until reduced by ½.
In a large casserole pan place the beef, cover with the cooked vegetables and pour the chicken stock and brandy over it all. Cover and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 to 4 hours or until fork tender.
For the squash:
In a medium sized sauté pan heat the rest of the canola oil till it shimmers. Once again being very careful add the squash to the pan. DO NOT CROWD THE PAN. Only add enough squash to cover the bottom of the pan in one layer. If you have more left over do this recipe in 2 batches. If you add to much squash to the pan it will cool the pan down and you won’t get a nice sear. Cook for ten minutes or so on high heat turning the squash individually so as to caramelize all sides evenly.
Once this is done reduce the heat to minimum and add 1 Tablespoon butter to the pan. Let the butter brown (or cook until it smells nutty) stirring the squash the whole time. Add you shallots and garam masala to the pan cook in the butter and squash for a couple of minutes to bloom the flavors but don’t let it burn. Add the ¼ cup chicken stock.and toss the squash around so the stock emulsifies with the butter and makes a nice creamy sauce. The squash should not be greasy. When that is done remove from the heat and set aside.
For the sauce:
Cut the remaining butter into small pieces the size of a blueberry.
Remove the beef from the pan and skim fat from the surface. Put the vegetables and liquid and blend until smooth. Pour into a sauce pan and add ½ c. cream and begin reducing. When it has reduced by 1/2 add one shot of the remaining brandy.
Reduce this by ½ and then whisk in the remaining butter very slowly so it combines with the liquid and makes it nice and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Find your favorite bowls and place the squash in the bottom, top it with the beef and then right before you add the sauce to the plate... stir in the final shot of brandy. (This is a trick I like to do so you can taste the booze and it doesn’t get lost on the sauce.) Then pour it all over the beef and garnish with the fried sage leaves.
Finally, pour a shot for yourself (go ahead, your worth it).
P.S. After quickly burning all of the sage leaves for the garnish, our test cook (Siri) opted for a sprig of parsley for garnish instead. :)