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Provençal Short Ribs with Olives and Herbs for Hanukkah

Makes6 servings
  • Active time: 1 hr
    Total time: 4 hr
Olives, garlic, herbs, tomato, and wine come together in this short rib dish, a nod to the warm and sunny flavors of Provence. A shower of freshly grated orange zest at the finale brightens the rich braised beef with a citrus zing. This recipe makes a deeply satisfying main dish for Hanukkah or any other celebratory occasion.
Published in Gourmet Live 12.14.11

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 pounds short ribs (not cross-cut flanken)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Côtes du Rhône or Bordeaux
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 navel orange

EQUIPMENT:

  • A wide 6- to 8-quart heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid (for an alternative, see Cooks’ Notes)

ACCOMPANIMENTS:

  • Polenta, noodles, or potatoes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Heat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third.
  • Stir together flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Pat ribs dry and lightly dredge in flour mixture, knocking off excess.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown ribs in 3 batches, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer as browned to a platter. Discard fat from pot.
  • Cook onions, carrots, and celery in remaining 2 tablespoons oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add garlic and herbs and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened and fragrant, 2 minutes.
  • Add wine and boil until reduced by half, about 8 minutes, then stir in broth, tomatoes with juice, and vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  • Return ribs to pot. Cover with the lid, then place in oven, and braise until ribs are fork-tender, 3 to 3 1/4 hours.
  • Transfer ribs with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Let cooking liquid stand briefly, then skim fat from top. Stir in olives. Adjust seasoning to taste, if necessary.
  • Return meat to pot. Grate zest from orange over top just before serving.

COOKS’ NOTES:

  • Short ribs can be braised up to 3 days ahead. Once braised, bring to room temperature, uncovered, then keep chilled, covered.
  • Instead of a large heavy pot, you can use a 12-inch heavy skillet to brown the short ribs and cook the vegetables, transferring them as browned to a small nonreactive roasting pan. Deglaze the skillet with the wine, then pour it into the roasting pan with the remaining ingredients. Cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty foil (or a double layer of regular foil), then bring the liquid to a simmer, before transferring the pan to the oven.
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