Please excuse my slightly obsessive chatter on Thomas Keller for a minute, or two. His passion, dedication and attention to detail is something I admire deeply.
He is an acclaimed chef behind the world renowned French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon, and Ad Hoc restaurants and beautifully represents the art of intuitive cooking. In his cookbooks (yes, have them all) he shares his (simplified) techniques for us home cooks to apply to some fabulous recipes. Specifically, this gluten free and dairy free braised beef short ribs and parsnip puree recipe.
I’m a big fan of his culinary work and how he values collaboration — from the farmer, or rancher to the final preparation. When I go to my local farmer’s market, the usual guys whom I trust and eagerly talk about the seasonal harvest, it reminds me about how he talks about his purveyors in his cookbooks. I totally get it. One can get very excited about parsnips and peas.
I hope to actually go one day to the French Laundry, high up on that bucket list of mine. One day. One day.
If you search cyberspace for his short rib recipe you will see many versions from his ad hoc at home cookbook. Mine does have a few variations; no mushrooms (a fungus that can create yeast overgrowth – not good for the gut issues we are working on), no potatoes (does funny behavioral things to my twin boys like night wakening, and increased stimming) and a shortcut to the last stage before serving (in my notes below).
Yet the braising technique he teaches is as close as one can get and will make any tougher, cheaper cut of meat so incredibly tender with some time. Time is a virtue in the art of braising.
Oh, and about the shortcuts I mentioned: the Ad Hoc aficionado may not find this acceptable (I did struggle with this, but had no more time left for this wonderfully meticulous step with a hungry group of people waiting), but rest assured this shortcut version is delectable and quite satisfying if you ask me.
Braised beef is one comfort food that is so satisfying. So necessary “Chef Keller style”. The deep, rich flavors from the wine reduction and the tender, delicate meat need to be a staple in every carnivores kitchen … gosh, braised short ribs make me happy.
And hard to resist. Just a little nibble, you know for quality control purposes … ah, none the wiser.
And despite the fact that he uses plenty of butter and plenty of flour in his recipes, it doesn’t stop this gal with all the dietary restrictions to go poking around in his cookbooks for recipes to adapt. I will say even though his recipes have been modified for the home kitchen, it is intimidating with all the recipes well suited for the culinary trained. For someone like me who never went to culinary school it makes it more like an adventure!
Some of my recipes (from the ad hoc cookbook) that adapted well to gluten, dairy, and soy free are lemon raspberry bars (his are without raspberry), and the meringue (from his lemon tart that I use as frosting) is out of this world (click here for recipe). I am still trying to figure out how to make his TKO cookie recipe gf/df/sf . The last two times it lost it’s scalloped shape and the cookie tasted dry. I will tackle that one again soon for sure. No, my friends, I am not giving up.
Ok, I’m done now, moving on.
I like to make this the day before I’m serving to remove the fat the next day due to the amount of fat that is drawn out of the meat during braising. After it has chilled overnight the fat solidifies, which makes it easy to remove from the surface. I also like to serve this when we have company because really, who doesn’t love braised short ribs if you are a meat eater, in addition to being a make ahead meal – a necessary staple when entertaining.
Just a thought: if you celebrate Passover and are looking for a recipe to feed a large gathering, you may want to try this recipe – it will please young and old without all the fuss in the kitchen (make it ahead!) and can easily be doubled or tripled using additional cookware.
Though typically served with mashed potato I love what parsnip puree adds to this dish: a lighter less starchy pairing perfect for a hearty main dish. My version does have an unmistakably large amount of fresh garlic (more than Keller’s) but will not linger to leave others standing afar, the wine will do well to mask any strong flavors garlic is known for. I find this extra amount to enrich the flavor of the meat.
Braising is a technique in which you sear meat in some sort of vessel, browning it on both sides (while still somewhat raw in the middle) then continue to cook on a lower heat in the oven for a period of time, leaving you ample time to tend to other things while it does it’s thing. I find this time perfect for homework, putting in the next load of laundry, washing a sink full of dishes.
With winter chill still in the air (despite what the calendar says) a big helping of braised beef short ribs over some creamy parsnip puree is the appropriate farewell to winter in all it’s boots and parka glory until springtime weather peeks through. Hopefully sooner than later.
We love you winter, but enough is enough already. Anyway … I’ve included some visuals on how this gem comes together with a BUNCH of notes on technique, and such, before getting started to make the best short ribs ever.
For the parsnip puree (while the meat is in the oven):
Some notes before starting (also added to the recipe’s preparation):
a) Have all your ingredients prepared (mise en place, as the french say) with the oven rack set in the center and preheated.
b) Cut your vegetables as evenly in size as possible to cook evenly.
c) Leave your refrigerated meat out for 30-60 minutes before cooking for best cooking and seasoning results.
d) I use bone-in short ribs cut crosswise instead of lengthwise (popular in restaurants for its’ visual appeal) also known as flanken cut for added flavor. I find the braised liquid has more flavor from the exposed bones rather than making this with boneless short ribs. If you prefer this to be boneless, ask your butcher for “boneless chuck short rib” and cut away any connective tissue and sinew from the meat before seasoning.
e) Coconut oil has a high smoke point compared to olive oil, which will give a darker crust, ideal for braising. Avocado or grape seed oil are good alternatives.
f) Pat the meat to dry with a paper towel before seasoning, then coating with flour to ensure a good sear, which will lock all the juices in and keep the meat moist.
g) Do not season the meat until just before braising. Seasoning in advance will actually pull the juices out and dry the meat.
h) The salt amount may seem high to some, keep in mind kosher salt has a lower sodium count per volume and this is a large amount of meat to season; holding the salt from about a foot above the meat when seasoning will ensure even distribution. Ideally, the salt seasoning should resemble a light coating of snow. Table salt of this amount will make it salty. I encourage you to use kosher salt only (Diamond Crystal is best in my opinion), it lends the best flavor to food.
i) To sear with best results do so in batches to prevent crowding the meat. The more meat in the skillet the more steam it will cause (especially if the meat is cold), which will not give that nice sear we are looking for.
j) Braised short ribs taste even better a day or two later, a terrific plan-ahead meal that also makes for delicious leftovers. Think: pull apart short rib tacos, sandwich, with pasta or a shepherd’s pie.
- Short Ribs:
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 medium shallots, diced
- ¼ cup full garlic cloves, minced
- 3 carrots or 2 cups baby carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ½ bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 750ml bottle red wine (I use Frey Organic Sulfite-Free)
- 1 cup organic beef stock (I use Imagine Organic)
- 6 pounds bone-in short ribs (I used organic grass fed flanken cut short ribs)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1½ tablespoons crushed black pepper
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil (or another high-heat oil), divided
- Parsnip Puree:
- Note: You will need a hand held immersion blender or food processor
- 3 pounds parsnips (about 6
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Plan ahead to make a day or two in advance before serving (see below).
- In a 6 quart saute pan or cast iron dutch oven set
on medium highheat, add 4 tablespoons of coconut oil.
- When melted add onion, stir to coat in oil. Add shallots and garlic, stir to combine. Add parsley, rosemary sprigs, and bay leaves, stir to combine well. Add red wine and beef stock, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium for 30-35 minutes and cover.
- Preheat oven temperature to 350 degrees F with
rackplaced in center.
- Meanwhile, season the short ribs on a baking sheet and coat
incoconut flour; shake off excess flour before searing.
- In a heavy bottomed stainless steel saute pan set
on medium highheat, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Just as it begins to smoke (reached it’s high smoke point) add the meat with fat side down (if any) and brown for 3-4 minutes. Do not move the meat around, it should remain where you placed it to sear properly.
- Turn the meat over and brown the other side for another 3 minutes.
- Transfer meat
intoa bowl or large platter (that can hold released juices).
- Repeat with remaining meat.
- When all the meat has been seared and removed, add apple cider vinegar to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape off any stuck-on caramelized bits. Transfer to the bowl with meat. Set aside.
- When the red wine reduction has reduced by half add the short ribs into the
sautepan by nestling between the vegetables and wine reduction.
- Note: If your wine reduction has reduced by more than half (ovens do vary) do not worry, the braising will keep it moist as the fat slowly renders into the wine reduction.
- Cover and transfer the pan (or pot) the oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F, and braise beef for 2 to 2½ hours, until very tender but not falling off the bone.
- For the next stage (my
- Let it sit at room temperature for an hour before transferring to the refrigerator (meat can remain refrigerated for up to 3 days before the next step).
- The next day remove the solidified fat on the surface and transfer to a bowl. Do not throw away – it's great in stews, shepherd's pie, or hash.
- Slice the meat in the size you desire for serving (I cut between each bone in roughly
2 inchsized pieces). Transfer cut pieces back into the saute pan (or pot) and heat on simmer until heated through or in a preheated 300 degreeF oven for 15-20 minutes until hot.
- Parsnip puree:
- Transfer all chopped parsnip and onions onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and drizzle olive oil evenly. Add more oil, if needed. Rub the vegetables to evenly coat both sides. Spread out evenly in one layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until softened with browned edges.
- Leave a few parsnip ends aside for garnish (optional) and transfer the remaining vegetables into a
heat proofbowl, then add coconut milk.
- Puree with a hand held immersion blender or food processor.
- Plate a few heaping tablespoons of puree into each bowl then a few short rib pieces with some of the wine reduction. Serve hot.
- Some key points to note before starting:
- Have all your ingredients prepared (mise en place, as the french say) with the oven rack set in the center and preheated.
- Cut your vegetables as evenly in size as possible to cook evenly.
- Leave your refrigerated meat out for 30-60 minutes before cooking for best cooking and seasoning results.
- I use bone-in short ribs cut crosswise instead of lengthwise (popular in restaurants for
it’svisual appeal) also known as flanken cut for added flavor. I find the braised liquid has more flavor from the exposed bones rather than making this with boneless short ribs. If you prefer this to be boneless, ask your butcher for “boneless chuck short rib” and cut away any connective tissue and sinew from the meat before seasoning.
- Coconut oil has a high smoke point compared to olive oil, which will give a darker crust, ideal for braising. Avocado or grapeseed are good high-heat alternatives.
- Pat the meat
drywith a paper towel before seasoning, then coating with flour to ensure a good sear, which will lock all the juices in and keep the meat moist.
- Do not season the meat until just before braising. Seasoning in advance will actually pull the juices out and dry the meat.
- The salt amount may seem high to some, keep in mind kosher salt has a lower sodium count per volume and this is a large amount of meat to season; holding the salt from about a foot above the meat when seasoning will ensure even distribution. Ideally, the salt seasoning should resemble a light coating of snow. Table salt of this amount will make it salty. I encourage you to use kosher salt only (Diamond Crystal is best in my opinion), it lends the best flavor to food.
- To sear with best results do so in batches to prevent crowding the meat. The more meat in the skillet the more steam it will cause (especially if the meat is cold), which will not give that nice sear we are looking for.
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