Sorry about the long headline but I have been talking to my butcher. He tells me that beef short ribs or Jacob’s Ladder, as it is known in trendier spots, is becoming quite chique. If the normal rules of economics prevail, prices will rise as popularity increases. So, don’t cook it. We want to avoid inflation here in Ireland. Things are bad enough. It is not as nice as it looks so don’t cook it. Please. I speak from bitter experience. I bought some beef ribs and decided not to follow Richard McGary’s excellent celeriac mash recipe because I know better. I also decided to use four bulbs of garlic as a bed for my beef. Big mistake, you would not like the mellow flavour released over five hours of slow cooking. I compounded my errors by making a red wine gravy from the slow cooking juices. Don’t try this. The end result is awful. Just to be on the safe side, here’s the list of ingredients to avoid:
- 2 beef short rib racks (enough to feed eight)
- 3/4 of a bottle of strong red wine.
- 4 bulbs of good garlic. 8 if you are using Chinese stuff from the supermarket.
- 1 celeriac
- About the same weight of potatoes as celeriac
- Salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar
- Milk and butter for the mash
Here’s what I did so you can avoid doing it, not that you will be buying the short ribs anyway. I seasoned the meat on all sides and splashed on some, but not too much, balsamic vinegar.
I popped the beef into a hot oven (220 degrees C) for half an hour.
Then I took it out and lifted it out of the roasting pan. put in a bed of garlic cloves and returned the beef.
I poured in the wine. I used a pretty decent Ripasso. That does not matter because you will not be cooking this dish.
I turned the oven down to 150, covered the dish with foil and put the beef back into the oven. I left it there for four and a half hours. I took the beef out, poured off most of the wine / beef liquid into a pot and returned the beef to the oven for another half an hour.
During the beef cooking time, I got to look at the celeriac. My eldest wanted to know why I was cooking a vegetable brain.
I peeled and chopped this and steamed it for roughly as long as I did the potatoes.
When they were cooked, I drained the pot of water and added the celeriac and potato, milk and butter. I mashed them until they were smooth. Then I gave them another go to be sure. This is not relevant as you will not like or cook this dish. I don’t know why I am writing about it.
I removed the beef from the oven and left it to rest for 10 minutes.
I used the time to separate the fat from the rest of the cooking liquid and reduce it in a pot. I put about 600ml of wine into the dish and the final reduction is about 100ml. The flavour was intensely beefy and winey. You would not approve. I added a small amount of roux (flour and butter mixed together) to thicken and glaze the sauce. While it looked very nice, you would not like it. Trust me. You don’t want to prepare this dish.
I cut the beef, sat it on a pile of the celeriac mash, served a few sweet garlic cloves on the side and poured the sauce over it before serving.
While my lot scoffed theirs and were totally approving, think of the economy, think of inflation. Don’t do it!