Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WSJ - Five-Spice-and-Cocoa-Braised Short Ribs

Papa Joe made this last weekend. He says that it's great! It's from the Wall Street Journal.

[Braised short ribs]

Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours 15 minutes

4 pounds well-marbled beef short ribs, cut 2 inches thick and preferably with the bone
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup soy sauce
The zest and juice of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
3 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher suggest wine pairings for this meal.
The ribs may be short, but the list of possible wine pairings is quite long. Chef Farmerie recommends a Southern Rhône-style blend or an Australian Shiraz and those would certainly be winners (though we'd avoid Shiraz under $20 because we generally find them overly simple and creamy, which wouldn't pair well with the short ribs). This dish is so yummy that if you stick with any red wine of some oomph and stature you can't go wrong. Barolo and Barbaresco from Italy, Syrah from California or Washington state, Pinot Noir from Oregon, Bordeaux -- any would be lovely. But how about trying something different tonight? Pick up a Petite Sirah from California. Petite Sirah is a deep, dark, big, peppery wine that's quite distinctive and really needs a substantial dish like this to make it shine. (Petite Sirah is sometimes spelled Petite Syrah, but is unrelated to Syrah.) Some names to look for under $20: Guenoc, Parducci, Bogle and Concannon. Over $20: David Bruce and Stags' Leap Winery (a long-time favorite that's worth a special search). Petite Sirah ages beautifully, so if you find a bottle with some years on it and it has been well cared-for, that's great. If you get a young bottle, you might consider decanting it after you have tasted it to make sure it needs decanting—your puckering mouth will let you know. You can contact us at
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the short ribs in an ovenproof casserole just big enough to fit them snugly.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the stock, soy sauce, zest, juice, ketchup, five-spice powder, brown sugar, cocoa powder, garlic, shallot and thyme. Pour the mixture over the short ribs.

Cover the baking container tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 21/2 to 3 hours (depending on the size of the ribs). The meat should be falling off the bone and give little resistance when pressed with a fork. Uncover and return to the oven to allow the juices to thicken, about 15 minutes more.

Transfer the ribs to a plate and carefully pour the braising liquid into a large glass measuring cup. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes so the fat will rise to the top. Using a small ladle or cup, skim off the fat.

Serve the ribs with a few spoonfuls of sauce drizzled over the top. If making ahead of time, pour the defatted sauce back over the ribs and cover the dish with foil. Reheat for 20 minutes before serving.

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