photograph by Matt Hulsman

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Garlic-Soy Glaze

Yield: 6 servings.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
5 pounds bone-in short ribs, at least 1½ inches thick 
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 
2 large heads garlic, halved crosswise 
1 large onion, chopped 
4 celery stalks, chopped 
3 medium carrots, chopped 
3 tablespoons tomato paste 
½ cup dry red wine
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar 
2 cups beef stock    
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 275˚. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear short ribs on all sides until evenly browned, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer browned short ribs to a large plate and continue browning remaining ribs.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of beef fat drippings. Add up to 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil if the pan seems too dry to prevent scorching. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Cook without stirring until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and season with salt and pepper.

While stirring vegetables, scrape browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until vegetables are softened but not yet browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato paste has started to caramelize a bit on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add red wine, soy sauce, brown sugar, and beef stock. Stir with wooden spoon and continue to scrape up any browned or caramelized bits. Let pot simmer 2 to 3 minutes.

Using tongs, place short ribs and any beef juice into the pot, bone side up. Meat should be submerged, so add more beef stock or water as needed. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven.

Cook, undisturbed, until short ribs are tender and falling off the bone, 3½ to 4 hours.

Using tongs so that the bone doesn’t separate from the meat, carefully transfer ribs to a serving platter. Strain sauce through a colander placed over a mixing bowl. Discard cooked vegetables.

To the sauce, add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle short ribs with orange juice and sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving. Spoon off any fat from the top of the sauce and serve sauce in a gravy bowl.

Braised Red & Green Cabbage

Yield: 6 servings.

1 head green cabbage, cored
½ head red cabbage, cored
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Freshly cracked black pepper

Cut cabbage into thick wedges, rinse, and pat dry.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from pot and place on a paper towel. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings.

Add cabbage to the pot, cut side down, and cook over medium heat, turning once, until browned.

Add the onion, salt, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and apple juice. Simmer over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add cooked bacon to cabbage and cover pot. Over low heat, braise until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer cabbage to a serving bowl.

Over medium-high heat, boil the liquid until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from the heat and add butter. Season the sauce with additional salt (if needed) and pepper. Spoon over braised cabbage and serve.

Braised Plums & Orange Compote

Yield: 6 servings.

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound red plums, pitted and sliced (5 to 6 plums)
3 oranges, peeled and divided into sections (pith removed)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons orange zest
½ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
Vanilla ice cream

In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil over high heat. Add the plums, orange slices, and sugar. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

Stir in the cream. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes or until the skin of the plums starts to break down. Transfer to a large serving bowl and let cool completely.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and top with orange zest and pistachios. 

Braised Root Vegetables

Yield: 8 servings.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 carrots, sliced 1-inch thick  
4 small turnips, peeled and quartered
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large sweet potato, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups chicken broth
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, turnips, parsnips, sweet potato, and garlic. Season with salt and black pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 6 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and fresh thyme and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. 

Remove from the oven, add the pear and apple, and cook over high heat until the liquid is mostly evaporated and the fruit is tender, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.