Short ribs before and after
Following the Zuni cookbook, which I no longer have out of the library, I made short ribs braised in Belgian ale. Zuni calls for Chimay. I used Ommegang of Cooperstown. Zuni calls for a combination of ale and stock. I used all ale, about two thirds of a big bottle (the rest I drank, thanks very much). Zuni calls for a plastering of mustard on the finished meat. I skipped this as chefy overkill.
Around four pm I salted the meat and left it on the counter. At ten pm I patted it dry with paper towels and seared it in a smoking hot pan. Then I removed the ribs to the ceramic slow cooker bowl and deglazed with a large onion, chopped, and the ale. I then combined all of these things in the slow cooker vessel with a bouquet garni containing two dried bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and some peppercorns. Zuni calls for white peppercorns, if I recall. I used black. I slow cooked on low until 7:30 the next morning. Bittman once wrote of waking up to the pleasant perfume of slow-cookered honey garlic short ribs left overnight. I suspect the minimalist lives in a two story house, not a one story duplex flat. We were sleeping closer to the meat than would be optimal and the morning whiff of braising was a little much.
I refrigerated the ribs and braising liquid separately, straining out the onions and bouquet. When it was cold, I took the fat off the top of the liquid. Then at dinner time I warmed the short ribs up in a saucepan in their liquid and thickened it a bit with a corn starch slurry (equal parts corn starch and water, about a teaspoon each). I served glazed turnips and leftover Mexican rice on the side. The intensity of flavor was just what I was after. For lunch today I made a hash of the leftovers: rice, turnips, and beef all chopped up, moistened with gravy, and tossed in a hot skillet. The dinner was good and the hash was equal to it.