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Braised beef ribs with herb gremolata

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Impress your Valentine (or any dinner party guests) with this heart dish of tender beef with punchy bursts of lemon and parsley. Mashed Potatoes or polenta are consummate companions to this big, bold dish. The leftovers make great sandwiches.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 2½ lb/1.2 kg beef short ribs {about 8 pieces}
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup/60 ml dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3 cups/720 ml low-sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, cut in 2-in/5-cm chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in 2-in/5-cm chunks
  • 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 300˚F/150°C /gas 2. Wrap the bay leaf, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string to make an herb sachet.

Step 2: Place the ribs on piece of parchment/ baking paper and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or other wide, heavy ovenproof pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the ribs and cook to a deep brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a plate.

Step 3: Add the white wine to the pan and scrape with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits (this is called deglazing). Add the broth and return the ribs to the pan along with the onions, carrots, celery, and herb sachet.

Step 4: Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; as soon as it reaches a constant simmer, (boiling meat makes tough meat, while simmering it soothes it into its most tender form), transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, about 2 1/2 hours, stirring once during the cooking to make sure that all sides are immersed in the cooking liquid.

Step 5: Remove the ribs and large vegetables to a plate, leaving any small or delicate bits of vegetables behind. Cover the meat with aluminum foil to keep warm. Place the Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat; skim any excess fat off the broth with a large shallow spoon and simmer over medium heat until it has thickened slightly and reduced to about 1 3/4 cups/420 ml of sauce, about 20 minutes.

Step 6: Use a vegetable peeler to strip 2 or 3 long pieces of lemon zest from the lemon. Slice the zest as thinly as possible with a sharp knife and stir together with the parsley and olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Step 7: Serve 2 ribs per person on top of a bed of melted polenta or mashed potatoes in shallow bowls or plates. Spoon cooked carrots around the sides. Top the ribs with a generous heap of Gremolata. Serve with the cooking liquid to spoon over.

Taken from The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland. Photographs by Sara Remington. Published by Chronicle Books, £22.99

Need more Valentine's Day recipes? Try these Dutch baby Pancakes with Poached Rhubarb or a Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Smoked Sea Salt.

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