Melt-in-your-mouth braised ribs

Chef Jose Alvarado and Aimee O'Connor, owners of Jose O'Connors Restaurant in West Carthage, with their dish of red wine braised beef short ribs with celery root puree, peas and carrots.

Red wine braised short ribs have become indispensable in my collection of hearty winter fare. It amazes me how popular they have become in the culinary world, taking a once undesirable cut of meat and transforming it into a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.

There are several techniques to go about cooking them, which I have learned in my 13 years as a culinary professional. They all use a basic slow-cooking practice and my favorite is the sous-vide method.

A French term for “under vacuum,” it cooks food in airtight sealed bags in a water bath at a controlled temperature. You control the temperature using a thermal immersion circulator, which has become readily available and known to the public in recent years thanks to numerous cooking networks and reality television shows that glorify chefs.

The intention of using this method is for even cooking, never overcooking and allowing the juices, flavors and other ingredients to remain inside the bags and constantly marry with the protein.

Typically I would use this method for the red wine braised beef short ribs, as at the restaurant we have a professional immersion circulator. However, for the home cook this recipe uses the traditional slow cook braising method at a low oven temperature.

It is worth the investment in an immersion circulator as anything can be cooked using it. From fresh garden carrots to summer fruits to custards.

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