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Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs with Julienned Leeks

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Serves six.

  • by Leslie Revsin from Fine Cooking
    Issue 60

Although I usually season short ribs with salt as well as pepper before browning them, you won’t need salt here. The soy sauce seasons the ribs well and produces an intense sauce that’s balanced well by serving them with Lucia's Best Mashed Potatoes. Star anise is a whole star-shaped spice, available from Penzeys Spices (www.penzeys.com).

  • 1-1/3 cups drained canned whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup fino sherry, dry white wine, or dry vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 6 to 6-1/2 pounds beef short ribs on the bone (each 3 to 4 inches long)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil; more as needed
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger (about 1 ounce), peeled and cut into 8 slices
  • 6 large scallions (white and green parts), cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and light green parts), cut into 2-inch-long julienne strips (2 to 2-1/2 cups), rinsed, and dried well
  • Kosher salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Put the tomatoes, 2/3 cup water, the soy sauce, sherry, and brown sugar in a bowl and stir. Add the star anise.

Pat the short ribs dry with paper towels and season them with pepper. In an ovenproof pot that’s large enough to hold all the ribs in no more than two layers, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Put as many ribs in the pot as will fit without crowding and brown them on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Brown the rest of the ribs, adding more oil if needed, and transfer to the platter.

Pour off the fat from the pan, reduce the heat to low, and add the garlic, ginger, and scallions, stirring and pressing them against the pot, for 1 to 2 minutes to bring out their flavor. Return the ribs to the pot and pour the tomato and soy sauce mixture over them. Bring to a simmer and cover. Transfer the pot to the oven and braise the ribs, lifting and turning them about every half hour, until the meat is very tender and starts to fall off the bone when pulled with a fork, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Transfer the ribs to a serving platter (or if you’re working ahead, transfer them to a baking dish; refrigerate, covered, when cool). Pick out and discard the ginger and star anise from the pot and pour the remaining sauce into a large, clear measuring cup. When the fat rises to the surface, after about 5 minutes, spoon it off and discard. (Or, if you’re working ahead, cool the sauce in the pot, refrigerate it, and skim the solid fat off the top. When it’s time to reheat the ribs, return them to the pot and heat gently in the oven.)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reheat the sauce, season generously with pepper and more salt, if you like, and pour it over the ribs. Scatter the leeks over the top and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 530; Fat (g): 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 11; Protein (g): 42; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 21; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 2140; Cholesterol (mg): 115; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Great recipe! One of my go to's for dinner parties because you can make ahead. The layering of potatoes, beef and leeks makes an impressive presentation.

A very nice rich dish, especially with creamy mashed potatoes. I love the flavour of star anise, but would definitely cut back to one or two the next time I make it. The addition of a cup of beef broth was also a good suggestion.

This is a fantastic recipe and I have made it several times for my inn. I usually add a cup of good quality beef broth because I love to use the jus around a mound of mashed potatoes topped with two ribs along with some carrots and green beans.

This is a delicious recipe but I did cut back on the star anise and used only 2. It was great with the mashed potatoes and a nice presentation with the julienned leeks.

This is a delicious and fairly easy recipe. I find it works best for me if I make it ahead and defat it well. Beef ribs can be fatty, and thus too heavy. I add a little cinnamon, maybe about 1/4 teaspoon, to deepen the aroma of "sweet" spices. Mashed potatoes are a good - no, great!- companion, but not garlic mashed potatoes which I found too pungent for the dish - too much competetion for the wonderful flavour of the sauce.

This is quite simply wonderful. I've tried many braised short rib recipes and this is one of my favorites. Don't change a thing.

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