Braised Beef Short Ribs

Masterchef winner Luca Manfe stopped by Good Day to make braised beef short ribs with mushrooms and root vegetables. He's a private caterer in the DFW area and has a cookbook out called "My Italian Kitchen."

Braised Beef Short Ribs 

Short Ribs
Four 10-ounce (280 gram) beef short ribs on the bone
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 white onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
One 2-inch (5 centimeter) piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded if you like, finely chopped
2 cups (480 milliliters) balsamic vinegar
1 quart (1 liter) beef stock, homemade or store-bought, plus more if needed
One 2-ounce (56 gram) tin anchovies in olive oil, finely chopped
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
20 watercress leaves
Sunchoke chips

Sunchoke Puree
1 pound (450 grams) sunchokes (or substitute parsnips or turnips)
1 ½ cups (600 milliliters) whole milk
½ cup (120 milliliters) heavy cream
½ cup (4 ounces/113 grams) grams) soft fresh goat cheese (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

5 ounces (150 grams) chanterelle mushrooms
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 ½ tablespoons (22 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons beef stock, homemade or store-bought
First we’ll sear and then braise the short ribs. Heavily season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until screaming hot. Add the ribs and sear them on all sides, about 4 minutes per side, turning them with tongs as you go. Transfer them to a roasting pan. It is important to get a nice hard sear to so the meat will keep all its natural juices.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, leek, and garlic in the fat from the pan you seared the ribs in, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the ginger and jalapeno and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Put the ribs back in the pan.

Add the vinegar, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook for 20 minutes to reduce the vinegar a little. Add enough stock to cover the ribs; you may need more than 1 quart (1 liter). Then add the anchovies, molasses, tamarind, peppercorns, and cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover with aluminum foil, and cook for about 3 hours, until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender.

Take the ribs out of the pan, brush off any bits of vegetables from them, and place them in a new large pan. Strain the braising liquid into the pan. Keep the pan on the stove over low heat while you are completing the recipe. This will continue to coat the meat with the delicious juices and form a glaze around it. 

While the meat is braising, we’ll work on our sides, beginning with the sunchokes. Wash the sunchokes. You can peel them or keep the skin on, as the skin has a lot of flavor. I like my puree to be bright white, so I peel them. The choice is yours. Finely chop the sunchokes; the smaller the pieces, the faster they cook. Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan and add the sunchokes. Season with salt.

Place over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and simmer until very tender, about 10 minutes. Be careful, because the milk and cream can come to a boil very fast, boil over, and make a mess on your stove. So don’t leave the pan alone for too long and be sure to be around to lower the heat as needed. Strain the sunchokes over a bowl, keeping the liquid. Put the sunchokes in a food processor with ¼ (60 milliliters) of the milk and cream mixture and goat cheese if using. Run the machine until you have a super-smooth puree, adding more of the milk and cream mixture if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Now we come to our second side, the chanterelles. Clean the chanterelles. Remember, never wash mushrooms, except for morels. Instead, use a small paring knife to clean the stems and a wet paper towel to wipe the tops.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil with the garlic until screaming hot. Add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the rosemary and thyme. Cook without moving the mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes to form a golden brown crust, then continue to cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until well browned and starting to soften. Add the butter and stir to melt it in. Then add the beef stock, shaking the pan very quickly to get the mushrooms to jump and move in a circle; cook for about 3 minutes to thicken the sauce and soften the mushrooms throughout. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

For the grand finale, bring the braising liquid from the ribs to a simmer (if it’s not already there) and warm the sunchoke puree and chanterelles if needed. Spoon some of the sunchoke puree in the middle of 4 plates and place the short ribs on top of the puree; drizzle with a little of the braising liquid. Top with the mushrooms and garnish with the watercress leaves. Parsnips chips