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[see the video from WMUR Cooks Corner]

This time each year my household is insane. Year after year how can I not be prepared for the start of the school year? It comes at the same time, like Christmas, but that seems to sneak up on me, too. To make it a bit easier during the first few weeks I try to stretch a main dish into several meals.

In honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday, I recently purchased my first Le Creuset French oven from the outlet store in Merrimack. I told the staff that I was getting ready for a taping on WMUR’s Cooks Corner. They were incredibly helpful. My first purchase will not be my last. The outlet store sells “seconds” but I could not find anything wrong with mine.

How have I not become obsessed with Le Creuset until now? Even after watching Julie cook in the well-worn pot in Julie and Julia umpteen times. Searing and cooking in the same pot also saves time on clean up. There’s something magical that happens after two and a half hours in the oven…the meat falls off the bone.

On Sunday I wore my Pats jersey along with a set of pearls, and opened a bottle of wine. {To sip from and to cook short ribs I’d picked up from the farmers market.} Braising is one of my new favorite cooking methods and short ribs have become my best friends.

From this batch of short ribs I made short rib ragu with polenta, short rib pot pie, short rib mac ‘n cheese and grilled short rib mac ‘n cheese sandwiches. (Yes, I typed grilled mac ‘n cheese sandwich. Double the carb, but double the deliciousness.)  I also made short rib sloppy joes – no recipe needed; I added some root beer bbq sauce (from Williams Sonoma) and smothered a slider bun with the beef and added blue cheese.

If you don’t have a wondrous cast iron French pot, sear your ribs in a cast iron fry pan, or other sauté pan, and transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours for the magic to happen.

Braised Short Ribs

braised short ribsWhat you need:

  • 6 lbs beef short ribs
  • flour, for dusting
  • 3 tbs Devo Olive Oil grapeseed oil
  • 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 c beef broth
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lg onion, chopped (1 c)
  • 4 med carrots, diced (1 c)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (1 c)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 3 c red wine (I used Zorvino’s Sangiovese)
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

  • Heat oven to 350˚.
  • Generously season short ribs with salt and pepper.
  • Dust ribs with flour.
  • In processor puree tomatoes.
  • In lg bowl whisk tomatoes, sugar, beef broth, garlic and thyme and set aside.
  • Place French oven over high heat.
  • When very hot, add grapeseed oil and reduce temperature to med-high.
  • When oil smokes, place ribs carefully into pot and sear for 4-5 min on each side.

searing short ribs

  • Transfer ribs to plate.
  • Add onion, carrots and celery to French oven.
  • Cook until onions caramelize, about 10 min, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
  • Add tomato paste.
  • Deglaze with wine and cook for 3 min.
  • Add tomato mixture and ribs to French oven.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Cover and place in oven to braise, about 2 1/2 hrs or until meat is easily removed from bone.
  • Skim fat off top.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Transfer meat to plate.
  • Remove/shred meat from bone, discarding fat.
  • Return to pot and mix with braised vegetables.