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Pomegranate Braised Short Ribs

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 April 2017 at 04:38
Sam’s had a pretty good deal on beef short ribs, which I pounced on. Looking around for something new to try, I found a recipe from Martha Stewart for Pomegranate Braised Short Ribs that sounded good. We made them last night, and they’re well worth a try.

Although very tasty, I found the recipe to be overly cheffy. This is not unusual with Ms Stewart's recipes. For instance, after straining and defatting the braising liquid, she says to strain the sauce through a fine sieve. Why? You’ve already strained it once. And, with no remaining solids, there isn’t a whole lot of smoothing-out to be done.

I’m reminded, in that regard, of something Mitchell Davis once said in an interview. Davis is the author of the book Kitchen Sense: “I recall another recipe,” he remembers,” that had you strain a soup twice through a chinois. This sort of excess use of equipment and refinement (if you strain something once at home, I think it’s strained enough) is a hallmark of chef recipes….When we eat at home, the soup can be a little lumpy.”

Cheffiness, imo, highlights the overuse of equipment and technique, and often contributes nothing to the literature of the subject except bulk. Or, in the case of recipes, unnecessary extra steps. For instance, in this dish, Ms Stewart instructs to brown the ribs in some vegetable oil, then discard all the oil in the pot (along with any loose brown bits), and replace it with new oil. Are you kidding me? First of all, that seared fat and browned bits are flavor. Why get rid of them? Plus, for the next step, you have all that rendered beef fat in which to cook the onions. I, for one, am not going to waste it.

Please understand, this is not a shot at Martha Stewart. It is merely the nature of recipes written by chefs and professional food preparers like her. If you want to go through all that, nothing wrong with it. Unfortunately, too many just-folks home cooks are intimidated by it, and miss out on some otherwise great meals. Such as this one.

Here ends the sermon. And here is my seriously adapted version of

POMEGRANATE SHORT RIBS

2 tbls vegetable oil     
4 lbs short ribs cut in 3” sections
Salt & pepper to taste     
1 large onion, cut in wedges
3 cloves garlic, smashed well     
10 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ cup all-purpose flour     
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup dry red wine

Preheat oven to 275F.

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil. Sprinkle both sides of ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides, over high heat, transferring to a sheet pan or plate.

Reduce heat to medium high. Add onions, garlic, and thyme. Cook, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until onions are soft. Add the flour, stirring to coat veggies, and cook a minute more to eliminate raw flour taste. Whisk in some of the pomegranate juice to deglaze pan, then add the balance of the juice and the wine.
Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Return ribs to pot, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and transfer to oven.

Cook until ribs are tender and easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 2 ½-3 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to a serving dish, and keep warm.

Strain the contents of the pot, discarding solids. Skim as much fat as possible from the strained liquid. Return to pot. Season with salt & pepper as needed. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cook until a sauce-like consistency is reached, about ten minutes. Strain through a sieve if desired. Pour sauce over ribs.

A couple of further comments: Despite having to modify it, this is a really good braise. And, being as it’s probably my last braise of the season, I’m happy it worked out so well.

Cooking time depends on how the ribs were cut. The ones I used were so-called English cut (thin slices with an edging of bone), which cooked more quickly. If you make this dish, start checking doneness at about 2 1/2 hours, and adjust as necessary.

The original recipe calls for pomegranate seeds to be sprinkled over the ribs at serving. Do it if you like; I’ve never been a fan of that fad. Besides which, chewing on pomegranate seeds hurts my teeth.

Fishing out the thyme stems can be a pita. I’d recommend stripping the sprigs first, and just add the leaves to the pot.

According to Ms Stewart’s own notes, you can prepare the braise a day ahead, and refrigerate it. Then remove the fat next day, and reheat in a warm oven. So much for double-straining the liquid!







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gonefishin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 April 2017 at 16:00
I was recently using a Martha Stewart recipe a few weeks ago as well.  I think she's an easy "Tv Chef" that people often overlook, mistakenly.  Her food usually has nice balance and is put together in a thoughtful manner, in regards to flavors and textures.  This one seems okay, and a little different profile than the usual recipes.  Like you, I'm not putting pomegranate seeds on anything, just not to my liking.

  

    I would certainly agree with you that her recipes often get "cheffy".  But, used as a general guideline they're often a good starting point.  More than I can say for some of the other well known Tv "chefs"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 April 2017 at 19:12
Re: 'chefiness', my father-in-law once said of me that he had never seen anyone use so many dishes to cook a meal. LOL
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 April 2017 at 19:25
How many dishes I use, Tom, is often a function not so much of the recipes but of who's going to be washing them that day.

Dan, in general I find Martha Stewart easier to follow on TV than in her written recipes. Despite having a vast staff, she needs somebody to do basic editing.

Despite the fact she built a career on making thousands of women feel inadequate, there's no question she's had more effect on American food practices than any two or three other celebrity chefs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 03:07
This is reminiscent of the Kalimoxo ribs that I've had, done with red wine and cola...pomegranate would certainly be a welcome addition. This one goes on the short list.
Thanks BrookThumbs Up
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 06:06
Absolutely, Dave.

Seems to me that any of the "stewing" cuts are interchangeable with any of the classic---and not so classic---braising liquids.

No doubt in my mind, for example, that my Cranberry Pot Roast recipe would work equally well with short ribs.

Just to put a point on it, a few weeks back I actually made Meatballs Bourguignon. The cooking time was, obviously, shorter than most braises. But in all other respects it was no different than the regular beef chunks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2017 at 07:47
Excellent, Brook - thanks for posting!

My youngest son, Roger, is a bog fan of pomegranate-anything, so I might see if he wants to take a try at this, either with short ribs or perhaps chunks/cubes of chuck.
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