I am pretty much obsessed with sweet and savory combinations, it is my go-to flavor profile for just about everything. Fruit is constantly incorporated in my salads, caramelized onions work with everything in my opinion, sea salt caramel is my favorite dessert flaovr, honey and maple syrup are a couple pantry items that I constantly have to reload. When using a densely flavored piece of meat like short ribs, it is important to use bold flavors to break up the beefiness. These short ribs are braised in a liquid with sweet onions, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, and maple syrup, but the beef has enough flavor to not be overpowered by the sweetness. In addition, the pan roasted sunchokes and purple potatoes are totally savory with a touch of acidity to complement the sweet short ribs. This dish was inspired by pork belly we braised at work, which was in turn inspired by Chef Takashi.
A few notes: be cautious with your soy sauce and salt when making the braising liquid. Salt prevents liquid from reducing past a certain point, so if you use too much soy sauce or salt the liquid will not reduce to a sauce consistency. This is one of the few times when salt should be used primarily at the end, to taste. With that being said, season the short ribs well and rub in the spices to incorporate and bring out the best flavor possible. I’m not 100% sure about the measurements in the braising liquid, but this is a very solid base to build on, the aromatics really add a lot of wonderful flavor. It is very important to skim the fat throughout the braising process in order to have a clean sauce, I must confess I did not do a great job of skimming the oil and it showed when saucing the plate.
Short ribs w/sunchokes & purple potatoes – 6 servings
- 6 bone-in short ribs
- Chinese five spice
- brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- canola oil
Season short ribs generously and rub in to incorporate. Heat Dutch oven on medium high, add canola oil, pot is hot enough when oil shimmers. Sear all sides of short ribs, be sure not to overcrowd the pot. Set seared short ribs aside.
- 2 medium Spanish onions, julienned
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces beer, lager or something sweetish preferably
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- dash of soy sauce
Preheat oven to 300. Add onions to Dutch oven and cook until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Deglaze w/beer and bring to simmer. Add sugar, syrup, star anise, cinnamon, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and soy sauce. Nestle the short ribs into the onion bed and add enough water to come three fourths up the short ribs. Place a tight lid on the Dutch oven and put in the stove for 3-4 hours. Skim for fat and turn the short ribs every 45 minutes. For the last 30 minutes, remove the lid to create a bit of a glaze as well as start the reduction of the liquid. Short ribs should be totally fork tender without turning into mush. Let short ribs sit in liquid overnight for best results. When getting ready to serve, strain short ribs, return short ribs to pot, add a little or the braising liquid, put on a lid, and heat on low. Reduce the strained liquid until a sauce like consistency has been reached, then season to taste.
- 4 purple potatoes, quartered then sliced
- 5 sunchokes, oblique cut
- 1 large or 2 small shallots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
- lemon, for juice
- parsley, chopped for garnish
- salt and pepper
- canola oil
Preheat oven to 400. Heat canola oil on medium in a cast iron pan. Add sunchokes and potatoes, season, and brown. Add shallots after about 10 minutes, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and finish in oven. Season w/salt, pepper, and lemon juice, garnish w/parsley.