Tell any 8-year old you are making them mushrooms for dinner and they won’t be too impressed. I however, will hug you excitedly as mushrooms are currently my favorite food. I want to fry, sear, and saute them, plunge them into white wine, sprinkle them in black pepper and finish them with cream. Better yet, I could singe them with brandy and toss them in butter. Or maybe just roast them with some fresh thyme and olive oil…
I’m obsessed but I think you get the idea. It is time to pass on this obsession with both fresh and dried mushrooms.
Dried mushrooms offer us home cooks lots of possibilities when the mushroom season is far away. They are cheaper than fresh and they produce a vegetarian broth which can be used to flavour soups and stews or hearty meat dishes like these braised short ribs. If you have never used dried mushrooms before, read this tutorial on how to use dried mushrooms.
This beef short rib recipe results in tender, melt in your mouth meat with an earthy pungency produced by cooking the ribs in the mushroom liquid. If it is mushroom season where you are, use less dried mushrooms and more fresh and simply saute the fresh mushrooms and stir them in at the end.
Braised Short Ribs with Mushroom Broth Recipe(serves 2)
Rinse the mushrooms under warm water trying to remove any grit. Place in a small bowl and cover in at least 2 cups of warm water. This water will be the basis of our braise later. Allow the mushrooms to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Gently lift out the mushrooms and pat any remaining grit off with paper towels. Strain the mushroom liquid through cheesecloth or paper towels and reserve both mushrooms and liquid.
Meanwhile while the mushrooms are soaking you can start on the meat. First heat the oven to 300F. Pat the meat dry and sprinkle liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a heavy dutch oven or casserole heat oil over medium high heat until just smoking. Add meat and turn the heat down slightly, brown on all sides without burning the meat or what is in the pan. Remove meat to a plate and pour off all but a tablespoon of oil. Add onions and saute until just staring to brown and sot, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook for another 2 minutes, and again with the celery. Add tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add flour and cook for another few minutes stirring regularly. Add wine and cook unti reduced by half. Add mushroom liquid and thyme, bring to a gentle simmer and add meat back. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 2-3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
Remove from the oven. If eating right away, remove the meat and strain the sauce. Put the sauce back in the pot and spoon off any excess fat. Add mushrooms and meat back to the pot and bring to a simmer until the sauce is the desired thickness. Season to taste and serve.
If you want to serve it later it reheats very well. Cool the meat in the liquid and refrigerate together. Spoon off excess fat and then reheat together with the mushrooms.