James Whelan Butchers: Short Ribs with Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Short Ribs by Pat WhelanShort ribs are also known as Jacob’s ladder. The flavoursome meat is well suited to slow braising; the meatier the ribs the better, so ask for them well-trimmed. Taken from the bone, short rib meat also works well in burgers.

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  • 6 beef short ribs, cut in half across into sections 5–7 cm long (allow 2 pieces (one rib) per person)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil
  • 6 garlic bulbs, split horizontally
  • 4 tablespoons Highbank apple syrup (or honey or maple syrup)
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 litre balsamic vinegar (the cheap stuff is fine in this recipe)
  • 110 g butter
  • 1.6 litres chicken stock
  • 1 litre beef stock

Serves 6

To Cook

Season the ribs generously with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine the oil, garlic, apple syrup, rosemary and 250 ml of the vinegar in a bowl. Taste the marinade and if you think it needs a little more sweetness, add more syrup. Put the ribs in a Ziploc bag and add the marinade. Leave for a couple of hours, or overnight if you can. Preheat the oven to 160˚ C/fan 140˚ C/gas mark 3. Remove the ribs from the marinade and place in a single layer in a large oiled roasting tray. Cover with two layers of foil. Cook for about three hours, or until very tender, turning halfway through. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to foam, place the garlic (from the marinade) in the butter, cut side down, and cook until nicely browned but not burnt. Then add the rest of the marinade and the remaining balsamic vinegar, and cook over a high heat until reduced by about three-quarters. Add the stock and continue to cook over a high heat until starting to thicken. It should be a syrupy consistency. Remove the ribs from the oven, pour off the juices that have accumulated, and skim off the fat from the surface. Add the skimmed juices to the sauce and reduce further if necessary. Trim any excess fat from the ribs, if you like, and coat with the sauce. Return to the oven, uncovered, and cook, turning from time to time, until nicely browned all over, about 20–30 minutes.

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