While I typically try to locally-source any meat in our diets, after reading Buffalo for the Broken Heart I became a fan of Wild Idea Buffalo. The book is an excellent read, and the overall philosophy regarding sustainable and humane practices is one I support. Given that, I recently ordered some of their products, including a package of the short ribs. Since any meat we buy is necessarily on the expensive side, I tend to try to prepare it in a non-fussy but impressive style, and in this case that meant a slow braise in a bottle of red wine, along with vegetables and porcini mushrooms. I should add here that Wild Idea did not give me any products or sponsor this post in any way, I am just a fan.
The package included four mini-slabs of ribs, for a total of three pounds, raw weight. For the first round we ate these as pictured above, with the soft-braised vegetables spooned alongside. This was excellent, but for the second meal I placed the vegetable-mushroom mixture in the blender, added in the braising liquid and a little stock, and blended the whole thing into the best-tasting “gravy” to go with the ribs. I would show you a picture of that version, but we ate it before I could set up a shot. It’s a winner either way, but next time I will do the blender version for the whole batch.
Braising is a great method for any pastured roasts or ribs, and for a wine braise you should always use a good-quality wine that you would also love to drink. “Cooking” wines are horrifying and salt-laden, so please avoid them at all cost. For this dish I used Columbia Crest 2010 Horse Heaven Hills Les Chevaux Red Blend, which I received as a free sample for the latest Thirsty Girl event. We also enjoyed their Cabernet Sauvignon in the glass, as a pairing with this dish–double-wine goodness.
- 1 ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds buffalo short ribs
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary
- 1 bottle of good red wine
- Soak the dried porcinis in the warm water for about an hour, or until they are rehydrated. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine sieve covered with a damp paper towel, and reserve to add to the braising liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a heavy, oven-safe French or Dutch oven (5 quart or larger, with a tight-fitting lid), heat half of the olive oil on the stove top and brown half of the ribs. Remove the ribs to a plate and repeat with the remaining olive oil and ribs.
- When the ribs have been browned and removed from the pot, add in all remaining ingredients, including the soaked porcinis and their soaking liquid. Add the ribs on top of the vegetables, cover the pot, and place in the oven to cook for about 3 hours. I like to check the pot at about the two-hour mark, to be sure it isn't cooking dry. If at any point the liquid is almost gone, add in a cup or two of water. You want reduced braising juices, but you don't want the vegetables to burn.
- When the ribs are very tender, remove and serve with the vegetables on the side, or place the vegetables and braising liquid in a blender and pulse until fairly smooth.
I used a 5-quart Le Creuset French Oven for this, which holds a tight seal. If you use a pot with a less-fitted lid, you should check the liquid levels after about an hour of cooking time. Just don’t let it completely dry out, and you will end up with a beautiful dish.
Thanks for reading,