Short Ribs in Black Sauce
Costillas de Res en Salsa de Asado Negro
I grew up eating short ribs in soups. In Argentina and Uruguay they are often grilled, but I much prefer them braised to really enjoy their wonderfully rich and gelatinous texture. My favorite way to cook short ribs is to caramelize them with a mixture of olive oil and brown loaf sugar and then braise them in a flavorful concentrated sauce that looks almost black at the end of cooking. This is the basic technique for the Venezuelan eye-of-round braise called asado negro (black roast).
What to drink: Susana Balbo Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
4 garlic cloves, mashed to a pulp with a mortar and pestle or finely chopped and mashed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
6 large short ribs (about 1¼ ounce each)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup grated brown loaf sugar (preferably panela), Muscovado sugar, or packed brown sugar
2 medium carrots (11 ounces), finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion (8 ounces), finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
Rosemary sprigs, for garnish
Seasoning the Ribs
In a small bowl, combine the mashed garlic with the oregano, allspice, salt, and cayenne. Rub this mixture over the ribs and let sit for at least 2 hours.
Searing the Ribs
Heat the oil over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet. Dredge the ribs in the flour, shaking off the excess. Add to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the brown sugar and continue cooking until the sugar melts and coats the ribs. Remove the ribs to a platter.
Add the vegetables to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the red wine and cook for 3 minutes, then add the chicken broth, tomato paste, and rosemary. Return the ribs to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, until the ribs are very tender, about 2 hours. Remove the ribs to a platter and let the sauce simmer, uncovered, 10 more minutes or until it thickens.
Serving: Ladle some of the sauce onto a large serving plate, arrange the ribs over the sauce, and garnish with sprigs of rosemary. These ribs are heavenly when paired with Sautéed Quinoa with Swiss Chard.
Recipes from “Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America” by Maricel Presilla. (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012)