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Braised Short Ribs with Carrots and Cumin

Braised Short Ribs with Carrots
This is the kind of homey French foodmeaty short ribs and carrot chunks slowly simmered with only a handful of other ingredientsthat the average Parisian, often too busy to cook, is happy to discover is the plat du jour in his or her neighborhood bistro. The generous measure of cumin, a reflection of the influence of North African immigration on Parisian cuisine, heightens the natural sweetness of the carrots, workhorses of the French kitchen. Serve the short ribs and vegetables in shallow soup plates, with the rich sauce ladled over the top.

The dish is even better if served the next day. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, lift the solidified fat from the surface and discard. Rewarm the ribs, carrots and sauce over medium heat and serve.

Ingredients:

  • 6 bone-in beef short ribs, kosher cut,
      5 to 5 1/2 lb. total
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on a plate. Dredge the ribs in flour, coating all sides. Shake off the excess.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add half the ribs and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining ribs.

Remove the pot from the heat, pour off the excess oil, and stir in the chopped garlic and cumin. Return the ribs to the pot and set over medium-high heat. Add the stock and enough water to almost cover the ribs and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Add the whole garlic cloves and carrots and bake until the meat is just tender, about 1 hour more.

Uncover the pot and bake until the meat and carrots are very tender and the liquid is reduced to a flavorful sauce, about 30 minutes more.

Spoon off any fat from the sauce. Transfer the ribs, carrots and sauce to individual shallow bowls and serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World Series, Paris, by Marlena Spieler (Oxmoor House, 2004).