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Discover the Secret Ingredient to Restaurant-Quality Dishes: Cooking with Wine

a white bowl with braised short ribs cooked in a wine sauce along side mashed potatoes

Elevate Your Culinary Skills: Braised Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce

My first experience cooking with wine

Have you ever wondered how to raise your home cooking to the level of fine dining? The answer could be found in a single essential ingredient: cooking with wine. This revelation, however, opened the door to many questions for me. 

  • Which protein to use? 
  • Will my non-drinking mother-in-law taste the wine in the recipe? 
  • Which wine do I use? 

Let’s take a step back for a moment. In the spring, my husband and I bought half a cow – a first for us. The diverse range of cuts we received was quite a revelation. Among these, it was the short ribs that particularly grabbed my attention. I hadn’t cooked this cut before, but fond memories of savoring them at a charming restaurant during a birthday trip lingered in my mind.

While I wasn’t aiming to replicate the exact meal I had in mind, my goal was to create something delicious in its own right. I remembered reading that short ribs, known for their potential toughness, benefit significantly from braising. For those unfamiliar, braising involves quickly searing or browning the meat and slowly cooking it in a minimal amount of liquid, ensuring tenderness and rich flavor.

With no go-to recipe for short ribs, I turned to the internet and found a simple yet promising recipe from Bon Appétit: Red Wine Braised Short Ribs.

Choosing the Right Wine for Cooking:

The recipe called for a dry red wine, specifically a Cabernet Sauvignon. I chose the Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018, known for its rich blackberry, cherry, vanilla, and mocha flavors. 

Remember, the quality of your dish is directly related to the quality of the wine you use.

The Cooking Process:

Following the Bon Appétit recipe, the short ribs are seasoned, browned, and then braised in a mixture of vegetables, herbs, and the star ingredient, the Cabernet Sauvignon. The dish is then slow-cooked in the oven, allowing the flavors to meld beautifully.

Don’t be intimidated if the recipe appears complex or lists numerous ingredients. The preparation is nicely paced over time, and trust me, if I can manage it, so can you, with the promise of mouthwatering results.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs Recipe:

Servings: 6

  • 5 lb. bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 2″ pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 750-ml bottle of dry red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef stock

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Brown the short ribs on all sides for about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate, leaving 3 Tbsp—drippings in the pot.
  • Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook for 2–3 minutes. Stir in wine, and add short ribs back with juices. Boil, then simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. 
  • Add herbs and garlic; stir in stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until ribs are tender, 2–2½ hours. Transfer ribs to a platter. Strain sauce, skim fat, and season. Serve over mashed potatoes with gravy.

The Pairing:

I served the succulent, fork-tender ribs with roasted cauliflower and noodles, a combination that complemented the earthy notes of the dish and made the most of the rich sauce.

This culinary experiment was not just a success; it was a revelation. Cooking with wine, especially a quality one like Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon, can elevate a simple dish into a gourmet experience. Whether for impressing guests or just treating yourself, this recipe is a testament to the wonders of cooking with wine.

For more tasty recipes, visit Compass Cuisine.

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