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Background info: An essential culinary technique, braising (cooking first over dry heat and then finishing with the ingredients submerged in liquid) is thought to have been part of our human repertoire for hundreds of thousands of years. Though a seemingly unremarkable cooking method, braising is the “secret sauce” for many of our most beloved and classical dishes, such as the savory Italian osso bucco, or the garlicky and sweet French coq au vin.
Cooking certain cuts of meat, such as beef short ribs, with a “low and slow” technique like braising does more than provide incredible flavor and aroma: It facilitates the breakdown of the tough, collagen-rich connective tissue into gelatin, enhancing our access to critical amino acids, such as lysine, which plays a role in bone and muscle longevity.
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I recently picked up a package of pastured short ribs at the farmer’s market, not having a clue as to how I might prepare them. I decided to treat them to a long braise in my Le Creuset dutch oven. The results were met with much praise from my family.
- Pastured beef short ribs (as many as you can fit into your cooking vessel without crowding)
- Several yellow onions, sliced thin
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and divided into cloves
- 1 cup red or marsala wine
- 1 cup stock (either beef or chicken)
- Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan salt
- Several tablespoons bacon grease, lard, tallow, or ghee
Sauté onions and garlic in cooking fat until fragrant and golden brown (I wait until the onions are almost done before adding the garlic, as it cooks faster and becomes bitter when burned). Remove from pan and set aside.
Rub ribs with salt and pepper, add more cooking fat to the pot, and brown ribs on all sides. De-glaze pan with wine, using a wooden spoon to detach brown bits from the bottom. Add stock and cover the ribs with the onions and garlic. Tear off a piece of parchment paper approximately the size of your pot and crumple it into a tight ball. Open it out and smooth it flat, then place it over the ribs inside the pot, pressing it down to create a false “lid.” Turn down your flame and cover the pot with the true lid. Allow the ribs to braise for approximately 4 hours on low heat.
The parchment “lid” allows the moisture from the stock and wine liquid to be trapped very close to the ribs, so that they steam as well as braise, which results in extremely tender meat.
Serve the rib meat over biscuits in a deep dish bowl, and ladle the cooking liquid into the bowl along with a few dashes of naturally fermented soy sauce. Top with a generous scoop of crème fraiche and a side of fermented vegetable of your choice and voila!
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About the Author
Annie Dru attended the University of California, San Diego, and has studied the art of nutrition for the past 25 years. She teaches a local series of classes on food preparation based on the research of Weston A. Price, DDS. She has lectured at San Diego State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Annie was drawn to the work of Dr. Price when confronted with her own life-threatening illness. After years of exploring macrobiotics, vegetarianism, and various fad diets, she regained her health by following the principles gleaned from his research. Annie’s DVD, Easy to Make Lacto-Fermented Foods, is available from PPNF.
Check out other recipes from Annie Dru:
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health & Healing
Fall 2011 | Volume 35, Number 3
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