Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brothy Beef Short Ribs

Over the weekend, I decided that I wanted to cook something soothing and restorative, something hot and cleansing. I wanted whatever I ingested to be the equivalent of a "chicken soup for the soul," but without the boring "chicken soup" part. Also, I didn't particularly feel like putting any effort into it. Sounds like a tall order, I know, but as usual my little collection of cloth-bound Canal House Cooking books provided the answer in just a few page flips.

This brothy short ribs recipe is one that I had looked at before, longingly, but for some reason, had never gotten around to making. My mistake. It requires six simple ingredients and a long afternoon of boiling time and that's about it. The chopping doesn't even come in til the very end, when you'll take all of 20 seconds to haphazardly cut up some scallions and cilantro to toss into your broth before devouring it whole. And while your big soup pot is on the stove transforming the short ribs into meltingly tender, falling-apart pieces of heaven, and the healthful ginger is turning water into something resembling a golden, seductive aphrodisiac, your apartment will fill with the most comforting, delicious smells known to man. Not an exaggeration. So take a day this weekend to try this out. It's a beautiful dish, clarifying and simple. xo

Brothy Beef Short Ribs
Adapted from Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 6, by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
Serves 4
3-4 pounds beef short ribs
1 hand-size piece fresh ginger, unpeeled, halved crosswise
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2-3 scallions, chopped

Put the short ribs, ginger, and garlic into a large, heavy pot and add enough cold water (about 12 cups) to cover the meat by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently until the meat is tender, about 5 hours.

Remove and discard the ginger and garlic and any loose bones. Skim as much of the visible oil from the surface of the broth as you can. This may take a good 10 minutes of skimming. Be patient! You'll be rewarded with a beautiful, clear broth. Trim any fat and gristle from the meat and return to broth. Season the broth with salt. Serve the meat and broth in deep soup bowls, garnished with lots of cilantro and scallions. Pass salt around the table for seasoning the beef.


  1. Instead of skimming can you strain the the broth through a fine mesh sieve or something like that?

    1. You could do that to get all the bits of fat and bone out, but the foam/oil on the top of the broth really needs to be skimmed. Worth the effort, though!

  2. That looks, delicious, I love your blog! Now you make me want to cook :)

  3. Interesting variety for soups. I love soups. Well, I always have one prepared every meal and I fear that I'm running out of ideas with it. I could try this, looks easy. beef jerky australia

  4. I wonder how this would taste if I use Australian pork. It is juicy as well, and might not disappoint me if used as replacement for beef.