Short Rib with Eggy Grits and Dandelion Greens

Brunch time.

While you’re waiting on short ribs, do the following.

  • 6 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2 cups medium or coarsely ground corn grits
  • 2 teaspoons salt (divided)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens
  • 2 tbs lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together 2 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs lemon juice. Toss in a bowl with the salt and pepper and dandelion greens. Set aside.

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. (If you have one that’s nonstick, use it. You’ll thank me later.) Whisk in the grits and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Reduce the heat and simmer the grits, partially covered, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking. Cook until the grits are thick and just tender, about 40 minutes for medium ground grits or longer for coarse grits.

Put braised short ribs in the oven to brown at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Whisk in additional water if the grits get too thick. They should remain pourable. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the thyme.

Arrange grits, short rib, and greens on plate as desired. Poach one egg per person and smash onto the grits when ready to serve.

Optional: serve horseradish and creme fraiche to put on the short ribs.

Short rib prep, for reference:

  • 6 large beef short ribs, about 14 to 16 ounces each (if ribs are tinier, buy by weight, not number)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced carrot
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups port
  • 2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
  • 6 cups beef or veal stock
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon thyme and the cracked black pepper. use your hands to coat the meat well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them generously on all sides with salt.

 

When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large Dutch oven [or a large saute pan, if you would like to use a separate braising dish; I aimed to use fewer dishes] over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to sear the meat in batches. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes. [I find this takes closer to 45 minutes if you’re really thorough. Be thorough!] When the ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate to rest.

Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme springs, and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Arrange ribs in the pot, lieing flat, bones standing up, in one layer. [If you used a saute pan for previous steps, transfer the ribs to a braising pan at this point.] Scrape any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours.

To check the meat for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and piece a short rib with a paring knife. When the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. Taste a piece if you are not sure. [If you would like to cook these a day ahead, this is where you can pause. The next day, you can remove the fat easily from the pot — it will have solidified at the top — bring these back to a simmer on the stove or in an oven, and continue.]

Let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then transfer them to a baking sheet.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F.

Place the short ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown.

Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. Skim the fat from the sauce (if you made these the day before, you will have already skimmed them) and, if the broth seems thin, reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning.

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