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Braising doesn't get enough love. It's a great way to to take tough cuts of meat and make them tender, and to take already great cuts and make them even better. Short ribs can get expensive and frankly you could just as easily makes this recipe with large chunks of beef chuck, cook about an hour longer, and it would also be delicious. (Sear the beef in pork fat and use a Burgundy wine instead of cabernet and you're 85% of the way to Beef Bourguignon). This is a pretty classic treatment of French braised short ribs except that features Bravado Spice Ghost Pepper & Blueberry Hot Sauce. We served them over mashed potatoes and they were delicious. Go Straight to the Recipe
It's important to sear the beef; not because it "locks in the flavor" but because the slight burning of protein, the Maillard effect, is what makes it so delicious. Make sure you blot about half of the remaining grease in the pot or you'll end up with a slick of oil on the top of your braising liquid at the end.
Be sure to cook your aromatics, or mirepoix, over a medium heat, until the onions are translucent to release as much flavor as possible before adding the braising liquid. The flour will help thicken the reduced liquid at the end as well.
When building this recipe, we thought about the role that the Bravado Spice Ghost Pepper & Blueberry Hot Sauce would play. Here, the fruitiness of the berries plays well with the richness of the cabernet and the beef. The heat of the ghost peppers makes for a gentle, subdued, warm finish on the back of the palate. Also, if you don't have Cabernet Sauvignon you can use a Merlot or Bordeaux. You don't really want to use a lighter red wine like a Pinot Noir. You want heavier red that can hold its own with the rich flavors of the beef.
The braising liquid should cover about 2/3rds of the beef. We chose to simmer the pot over a low heat on the stove, but you could just as easily do it in the oven at about 275° F. If you chose to use a deep roasting pan, you may want to cover it with aluminum foil. It's difficult to overcook while braising, but you may end up with a textures you don't like if you do. If you chose to use a chuck roast instead of spare ribs, you may need to cook for an extra 45 minutes to an hour. If you cook too long you may end up with beef that falls apart. Some people like that but we prefer a bit more structure.
Mashed potatoes are a classic pairing for braised beef, but you could also do some rice if you prefer, and perhaps serve with some sautéed green beans or asparagus. Regarding the braising gravy that's formed: you can chose to strain it if you like but you certainly don't have to. We chose not to, and you can see a few bits of veggies poured over the ribs in the final shot.
We've been on a something of a roll recently making some, frankly, incredibly tasty dishes and this is as good as anything we've ever made. If you're going to be home for a few hours, this dish is actually pretty simple and delicious. I hope you get to make it and enjoy it as much as we did.