This recipe is something I make quite often. It was inspired by tacos that were on the menu last winter at Public (http://www.publiceatanddrink.com/eat) in North Adams. It always varies slightly because I usually make it from memory, but I thought you may enjoy giving it a shot since it's SO delicious and cool weather appropriate so this time around I wrote out a base recipe. The good news is the more you make it, and cook in general, the easier it will be to taste and adjust accordingly.
2 lbs of boneless grass fed short ribs
1 heaping tablespoon crushed garlic, or 4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
Pinch of chinese 5 spice (adjust to taste)
Teaspoon of dijon mustard
Teaspoon of fish sauce (start with 1/2 teaspoon, and adjust to taste, I prefer a fair amount, but it's a polarizing condiment)
Generous bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Ginger, a piece about 2-3 inches long, peeled and thinly sliced
3 shallots, sliced
Sesame oil, around 1 tablespoon
salt and pepper
Large book choy (no time for babies around here)
1. First things first, take out your short ribs so they can get closer to room temp while you prep everything, pat them dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Heat up your dutch oven over medium high heat, add the sesame oil and sear the ribs, around 2-3 minutes on each side. Be thorough, get all those little sides. Remove the ribs from the pot and turn the haet off. At this point you have probably made some smoke happen (if you didn't, you probably aren't doing it right, it should be quite hot!) so you want to let the oil cool down, but don't rinse the crunchy burnt pieces out of pot.
3. Once the pan has cooled, put the heat on low and add in your shallots and ginger, saute for around 5 minutes. Add in the garlic last since it burns easiest, cook for an additional minute.
4. Add in all your remaining ingredients, bring that mix up to a boil, place the ribs back in, cover the pot and move the whole thing into the oven. There should be quite a bit of liquid, mine didn't quite cover the meat but it was almost level.
5. Bake for around 3 hours. Carefully remove the lid once you take them out, don't forget it will be hot! I wish this wasn't true but I've burnt the palm of my hand many times because I was way too excited and forgot the lid had been in the oven. Take the ribs out of the mixture.
6. Strain the sauce, I know this seems meticulous, but it makes the world of difference because you don't want little pieces of shallots, ginger, and cilantro in your final meal. After you strain it, put it back into the pot, break up the meat and decide what food you want to eat this on top of. It's a tough call.
I like to serve these with bok choy, I chop the white root part of the book choy about 1/2 inch wide and keep it separate from the leaves, also roughly chopped. Heat up a skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium high, throw in the white parts, cook for about 5 minutes, add in the leaves and a small splash of soy sauce, sauté for 2 minutes and then call it done.
Tonight I ate these two ways, first with the boy choy on a corn tortilla, a direct copy of the tacos, and second over a small fried polenta "pancake".