Oh…..Love me some slow-cooked, fall-of-the-bone beef short ribs. These were such a nice walk down Memory Lane….
My first encounter with Guinness (aka stout) beer didn’t involve much love. My husband used to have to travel extensively throughout Europe for his job. I was the fortunate recipient of his work assignment in that I got to travel to places I had longed to travel to….like Ireland. Yes, Ireland is every-scenic-postcard, every cable-television-documentary gorgeous you’ve ever imagined and some of the friendliest, most wonderful people on the planet.
One of the things we did on our trip was tour the Guinness plant in Dublin. At the end of the tour, we were all treated to a bottle of Guinness stout beer. Both my husband and I agreed….It must be an “acquired” taste.
Most stout beers are very dark–almost black–in color with a deep, rich flavor. There are numerous varieties and brands, however when people think of stout, they probably think of Guinness. This deep, rich flavor pairs particularly well with beef.
Spring is not far off, so St. Patrick’s Day is one more opportunity to enjoy a hearty slow-braised beef dish. These stout braised beef short ribs are long on flavor, ease and the recipe is scaled perfectly for an intimate St. Patty’s Day celebration for two.
Two pounds may seem like a lot for two people, however, the bones add significant weight. Before cooking, it’s difficult to know the amount of meat that will remain. One long-cut rib per person may suffice, however, to be on the safe side, I allow two per person.
After the ribs are cooked and falling-off-the-bone tender, there’s always a significant amount of fat on top of the braising liquid. To remove it, carefully tilt the pot to one side. Skim the fat with a large spoon, saving as much of the braising liquid as possible. Another option is to use a gravy separator. If you have time, braise the ribs a day ahead of time, cool and refrigerate overnight. Before reheating, skim the hardened fat from the top. Don’t worry about sacrificing any quality–most meaty braised dishes such as this often taste better the next day.
Pair the ribs with colcannon, a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale. Other ingredients may include scallion, leeks, ham or bacon, but ALWAYS plenty of butter, milk or cream. The garlic in this recipe is not traditional, but we love sauteed kale with garlic and garlic mashed potatoes so it seemed right to add it.
And to you, dear reader, this Irish prayer for you:
May there always be work for your hands to do,
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine warm on your windowpane,
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds beef short ribs (4 long-cut ribs)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bottle (11.2-ounce) stout beer, such as Guinness
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup petite-cut baby carrots
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped kale
3 scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Pat ribs dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and black pepper. Sear the ribs well on all sides then transfer to a plate. Add the onion and celery and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook briefly, about 15 seconds.
Reduce heat to low. Slowly add the beer then bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add the beef broth, tomato paste and the ribs back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Place aluminum foil or parchment paper over the pot first (to help minimize evaporation) then cover securely with the lid. Transfer to the oven and cook 2 hours.
When the ribs have cooked for 2 hours, add the carrots. Cover securely again and cook another 45 minutes. Serve with colcannon.
Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat butter in a skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the kale and scallion and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until wilted. Add the garlic and cook 15 seconds.
Add the drained potatoes to the pan and mash well with a masher or process through a ricer. Stir in cream and salt and black pepper to taste.