The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.
Again a perfect challenge. First of all, because it is still winter. Second, because i got visitors (my parents) to try a recipe on and third because said visitors and we had a long weekend of renovations to do, what better food than something that sits in the oven for 4 hours and comes out perfect? Right, a braise it is, and i choose the ribs in red wine. Because i never made ribs, and because of the 4 hours oven time. Apart from that, if the food already got a whole bottle of red wine, it must be good right?
The first challenge in the challenge was to find out what short ribs are in German, turns out it’s called Querrippe. The second challenge was to actually find those, so I called a butcher, asked for Querrippe, and they didn’t know what i meant. There are two types of ribs, and eventually we managed to understand each other, so I ordered 1,5 kilos short ribs. When we picked them up, they didn’t have them. hmmm, strange, but they did have high ribs, which we took instead, we had to cook, feed and eat after all. And the difference is that high ribs are a bit more high quality meat, which is not needed for this recipe, but, it doesn’t hurt either.
here they are:I will not post the whole recipe, cause i pretty much followed it as described in the challenge (thanks for that Poisonive, great recipe, really!). The second challenge was to get the pan hot enough to really brown the ribs. When i moved to Germany I noticed that there is a huge difference in gas pressure. Which really is a pity and a problem for recipes like this, even on the biggest flame the pan would not really get hot enough. But, patience solves a lot, and after a while the ribs looked liked this, and the kitchen smelled yummy (as in fact the whole apartment did):
Then we did the things with the vegetables, put back in the meat, added the wine, my mum cut a nice paper to cover the thing, and off it went, in the oven, and we had time to join the other workers in the renovation. (Well basically this meant, i had time to make tea, coffee, clean, make tea and coffee again etc etc. and the others did the work. But, I have to admit, catering was much appreciated, so i guess my job was just as important). Every once in a while I looked in my oven and in my pot, and it looked great.
After 4 hours, we got this:
Here is where the third challenge came up: after getting out the meat, I had to drain the liquid. Ehm, what liquid? I got out 1dl of liquid (great smelling, i have to say). On the forum Poisonive suggested that a) my pan was to big, or b) the oven still too hot, which caused the liquid to vanish almost completely (in the recipe almost half a liter of liquid remained. I think it was my oven actually. It has quite a character, sometimes it doesn’t want to do anything at all, and sometimes it is a little overenthusiastic. Moreover, it only heats from below, which is also tricky in any kind of oven recipe. Well, no problem, I had some red wine left, and simply added some red wine and water to the vegetabes in the end, and all was well, because what was left was so intense in taste that watering it didn’t really matter.
We served the ribs with mashed potatoes, and it was delicious! (my parents even agreed on helping renovating again two weeks later, so i guess i did a good job here.)
Looking forward to the next challenge.