Pipérade-Braised Short Ribs

Autumn 2016
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food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

Mark Muzzin of The Butcher of Kingsville is known for the high-quality Ontario-raised grass-fed, dry-aged beef he sells at his shop. If you can’t get to Kingsville, Ont., to visit Mark, do visit a high-end butcher shop and buy well-marbled, dry-aged beef for these braised ribs for the most succulent flavour and texture. Grass-fed beef does cook more quickly than grain-fed so check for tenderness as the ribs braise to avoid overcooking; if doing this recipe with grain-fed beef, you may want to braise for 1½ hours before adding the peppers. Piment d’Espelette is traditional Basque pepper used in pipérade and can be found at specialty spice shops and gourmet stores. Aleppo pepper is a good substitute, or you can use 2 tsp (10 mL) sweet paprika and ½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper.

6 strips, each 1-inch-thick (2.5 cm) cross-cut beef short ribs, about 4 lbs (2 kg)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground piment d’Espelette or Aleppo pepper
½ tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cans (each 796 mL) plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 sweet red peppers
1 large sweet yellow pepper
1 large sweet green pepper

POLENTA
4½ cups (1.125 L) water
1½ tsp (7 mL) salt
1½ cups (375 mL) cornmeal
½ cup (125 mL) cream (any type), milk or water
Freshly ground pepper

1 Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches (10 cm) from heat.

2 Cut strips of beef between bones into pieces that will fit into your pot, if necessary. Season beef on both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a broiler pan or a rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes per side, turning once, or until browned. Set aside.

3 Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

4 Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot (see TIP) over medium heat; sauté onion for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, piment d’Espelette, thyme, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and ½ tsp (2 mL) pepper; sauté for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add bay leaves and tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring and breaking up tomatoes.

5 Add ribs, pressing to immerse in liquid. Cover and bake for about 1 hour or until ribs are starting to feel tender.

6 Cut red, yellow and green peppers into long strips about ½ inch (1 cm) wide. Gently stir into pot with ribs. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes or until ribs and peppers are fork-tender.

7 About 20 minutes before serving, make the polenta. Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Gradually pour in cornmeal while whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened. Add cream, milk, or water to thin to desired texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

8 Using a slotted spoon, lift ribs and peppers out of sauce and place in a warmed dish. If peppers don’t feel tender enough, leave them in the sauce to boil a few minutes until tender; remove with a slotted spoon as they become tender. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

9 Spoon polenta onto warmed serving bowls or plates, top with braised ribs, peppers and sauce.

TIP If you don’t have a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, half-fill a large covered casserole dish with water and place it in the oven while the oven preheats to heat the dish. Use a large deep skillet or other pot to make the sauce. Instead of adding the ribs to the pot in step 5, empty the water from the casserole, place the ribs in the dish, then pour in the tomato mixture; cover and bake as directed.

Serves 6


TIP If you don’t have a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, half-fill a large covered casserole dish with water and place it in the oven while the oven preheats to heat the dish. Use a large deep skillet or other pot to make the sauce. Instead of adding the ribs to the pot in step 5, empty the water from the casserole, place the ribs in the dish, then pour in the tomato mixture; cover and bake as directed.