The 4th Day of Christmas: Garde Manger Braised Short Ribs with Cambozola

Serves 4-6

If chicken cooked over a can of beer is referred to as drunken chicken, then these short ribs must be hammered.  Richly marbled beef braised in nearly three bottles of red wine, this dish is the antitheses to yesterday’s ceviche.

Today’s recipe comes from Montreal native, chef Chuck Hughes of the restaurant Garde Manger, for which the cookbook is named. Brett and I don’t often exchange Christmas gifts, but instead treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. In 2010 we completed our annual Ontario trip with a detour to Montreal to ring 2011, and we celebrated the above mentioned dinner at Garde Manger.

Located in Old Montreal, the restaurant is the very definition of hole in the wall. When you enter the ambiance is cozy and there is an immediate awareness of the sheer enjoyment that everyone is experiencing in the small room – patrons and staff alike. The food was equally as enjoyable with rich, bold flavours and a whole lot of passion behind it; featuring ingredients you would expect (in a good way) like duck and Quebec maple syrup. I can say without a doubt the one and only time we’ve been to the restaurant goes into the books as one of the most memorable meals we’ll probably every have – and I hope we make it back one day, sooner than later.

To pay homage to our Garde Mange visit we chose this recipe for two reasons:

1)     As the cookbook says “Short ribs take little time and make you look like a rock star.” Braised meat requires little prep time, but a long time to cook. This is perfect when running around for the holidays because you can throw it in the oven and forget about it. That is, unless, you count the amazing smells, which are a torturous reminder until you can finally dig in; and

2)     We have sort of a running joke in that, nine times out of 10, if I ask what Brett wants for dinner his response is inevitably “braised short ribs”. I only occasionally oblige this request, so he’s taken to becoming somewhat of a short rib expert. In fact, aside from the potato (picture below) and sautéed kale (not pictured) accompaniments, this meal was 100% made by Brett.

We don’t actually eat that much meat, but when we do – we make it count, as is probably evident by the sheer indulgent nature of this recipe. While we typically throw together a braise with mushrooms, tomatoes, some wine and stock, this one is all about two ingredients in particular: wine and patience. The result is outstanding.

The beautifully marbled ribs in this post were from our trusty butcher, Harkness and Co., where the beef is sourced from The Blue Goose Cattle Company, a working ranch in BC’s South Cariboo region. 

Ingredients

  • 4 beef short ribs (bone in)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red beet, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 handful each, rosemary and thyme sprigs
  • ½ cups brown sugar
  • 8 cups red wine
  • ¼ cup butter, diced
  • 4 x ¼ inch slices cambozola cheese (or other soft rind cheese of your choice) 

Method

Preheat oven to 350° F

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a roasting pan or dutch oven, brown the ribs on all sides over a medium high heat (you may need to work in batches, depending on the size of pan). Add the vegetables and allow to cook for a few more minutes, until caramelized. Add in herbs, sugar, and wine. 

Cover and transfer to the oven, leaving to braise for about four hours, or until the meat easily comes away from the bones with a fork. 

When done, set meat aside to keep warm. Press the vegetables through a fine sieve to extract their juices. Pour the liquid into a saucepan. Remove surface fat with a ladle. Bring the liquid to a boil and allow to reduce by about half, until slightly thick and coast he back of a spoon. Whisk in butter. 

Serve with potatoes, Cambozola, and the reduced sauce on top.