French Fridays with Dorie – Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port

“When has a slightly overcooked carrot ruined a meal” – Anthony Bourdain

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Weekends are made for braising meats, drinking wine, and being a little lazy.  Some early effort in the kitchen is rewarded by the most delicious and comforting dishes and the promise of future spare time if there are leftovers.  In our two-person household, this is usually the case!  This weekend, I didn’t get to be lazy until Monday from working for and enjoying our dinner party.  Lucky me got the day off for Presidents’ Day so I made up in the R&R department.  Back to braising – and the recipe – Tyler Florence says it best in his book, Stirring the Pot: “When you bring up the heated liquid to a certain temperature, what you are really creating is a flavor whirlpool with all the tastiness from the liquid interacting with the flavors of the food in a continuous cycle”.  This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie (FFwD) was a slightly different take on the typical French/Italian oso bucco and short rib braises.  It combined the ‘expected’ mix of aromatics with a fruity red wine and port, plus a few surprising touches like ginger and star anise.

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Hello, steamy flavor whirlpool!

While shopping for the ingredients, I learned a few facts about port wine.  This fortified dessert wine from Portugal can be either ruby or tawny.  Ruby port is bottled after the first fermentation in metal tanks, while tawny ages for at least one more year in oak barrels.  The recipe called for ruby, but I could only find tawny ports.  Since the distinction between both port types was not a big deal for cooking purposes, we got an inexpensive bottle of tawny.  Curiously enough, when I opened the bottle and measured out the amounts, it looked more like ‘ruby’ than ‘tawny’.  We used a Malbec/Syrah blend we found for under $7 (total steal!) and stuck to Argentine wines for the rest of the gathering.  

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The ribs we found in the supermarket were these flat ones with little pieces of bone, which didn’t look like the picture in the book but worked out just fine.  We could barely fit the six pounds of meat we got into the five-quart Dutch oven and had to broil them in two batches.  Maybe it is time to upgrade to an seven or eight quart?  We served the ribs with simple mashed potatoes (a mix of Yukon Gold and red-skinned), salad with white balsamic vinaigrette, and the reduced braising liquid on the side.  We skipped the gremolata – a combination of citrus zest, herbs and garlic – but we almost always do when making braises.  

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If you want to join in the fun, visit the French Fridays with Dorie website and check out how other fellow bloggers did with their recipe.  I love how much creativity goes into these posts; last week’s seemingly straightforward pancetta green beans were made into appetizers, served in a meal reminiscent of an airline food tray (presentation only, of course), and there are also the stories behind each interpretation or circumstance under which the dish was made.  We already have our recipe schedule for March.  I see savory French toast in my future!

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

19 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie – Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port”

  1. Candy
    February 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Looks delicious! Thanks for the information about port!

  2. Chris and Amy
    February 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Wow. So yummy and comforting!!!

  3. kitchenarian
    February 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    I love all those wonderful ingredients cooking in that big beautiful red pot! Good job!

  4. Cher
    February 26, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    I am right there with you on upgrading from the 5 quart – I had such a mess. UGH. Good post.

  5. Sarah
    February 26, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    I don’t really think the gremolata added that much to the flavor. I have to say that when I’m buying liquor for cooking that I usually go for the least expensive. I don’t drink, so I don’t think I would appreciate the flavor difference between a cheap bottle and a fine bottle!

  6. Mary
    February 26, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    I love the steamy in the pot photo…nice post. I have the same red casserole dish!

  7. Karen
    February 26, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    Lovely quotes and lovely photos! I loved the info about the port and have absolutely no idea what type I got. It said port so I bought it. 🙂

  8. Chef Pandita
    February 26, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Mmm that salad caught my eye 🙂 I served the ribs with mashed potatoes and a simple arugula salad. Loved this recipe!

  9. Elaine
    February 26, 2011 at 3:13 am #

    Your photos are great! I really love that steamy whirlpool one. The next time I make this I want to make it with mashed potatoes. Your ribs and everything looks wonderful.

  10. Serene
    February 26, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    You’re such a good writer, and I love how your meal looks. Gotta add you to my reader so I can see more of your posts. I, too, just love seeing how other people interpret the FFwD foods!

  11. pease porridge pdx
    February 26, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    I want to come spend weekend with you! Meat, wine, being lazy, what else does anyone need?

  12. tricia
    February 26, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Absolutely love your opening line about weekends being for braising meats, drinking wine and being a bit lazy …words to live by ! Nana and I loved this recipe. Your own results look fabulous. The photos are wonderful. Also enjoyed the info you shared on port, which a drink I personally associate with long winter days. Great post.

  13. Teresa
    February 26, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    I skipped the gremolata, too, but am regretting it now that I’ve seen how lovely it looks in others’ posts. I don’t have a dutch oven and have had good results with my roasting pan. A dutch oven is on my wish list, though.

  14. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    February 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    I skipped the gremolata but wishing I had not now – looks so bright and lovely, Glad someone else’s ribs kinda sorta look like mine – I was beginning to doubt that I had made the right ones. I liked that these were manageable in terms of their size and a bit elegant to boot!

  15. Angela
    February 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Nice to know the recipe works with what looks like Korean style ribs to me. Funny thing is my son likes Korean Style ribs on the grill and they’re hard to find without going to the Asian market. I think how meat is butchered really varies by region. Thanks for the port info. I had a bottle of Tawny Port that was a gift and has been lying around here for years and like your experience it seemed fine. Bon Appétit

  16. Lana
    February 27, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    I was also intrigued by the addition of ginger and star anise. As my husband is not a big fan of anything anise-flavored, I was a bit apprehensive, but he loved the dish. Everybody did:)I forgot to put the gremolata on top, even though I prepared it. It would have made for a prettier photo, at least:)And I agree with you, weekends are for braising, wine, and being lazy:)

  17. Shandy
    February 28, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    Your ribs look delicious in your Dutch oven with all the vegetables, spices, wine, and port. Love your photos and the thought of lazy weekends =0).

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