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The juicy basics of braising

Sherril lives in Reno, Nevada, and spends her time trying out her various kitchen gadgets, spoiling her cats and knitting, when she isn't writing. You can reach her at

Succulent braised meat

If you've never tried braising because you think it takes too long, or you don't like "boiled" meats, think again. Braising can be a short or long endeavor, and it leaves meats juicy, tender and full of flavor. In fact, it's perfect for the busy mom, because you can braise something over the weekend, and reheat it for a weekday dinner, which actually enhances the flavor of the dish. Here's what you need to know to braise with the best of them, plus a braised ribs recipe to put your newly acquired braising knowledge to use.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Serves 8

3-1/2 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
2/3 cup good red wine
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered
2-1/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt

1. Season ribs with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear ribs until browned on all sides. Place ribs in a large bowl, set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic to the hot oil, and saute until browned, about 10 minutes.

3. Add vinegar and red wine, stirring until all browned bits have been scraped from the pan and the bottom of the Dutch oven is free of browned bits (this is referred to as deglazing the pan). Continue to cook until liquid is reduced by one third.

4. Add tomatoes, broth and herbs. Return ribs to pot, bring to a boil, cover pot and transfer to the preheated oven.

5. Cook, turning ribs once or twice, until fork tender and meat is just barely clinging to the bone, 3 to 3-1/2 hours.

6. Remove ribs from the pot and set aside. Strain sauce. Use a large spoon to remove clear fat floating on the surface of the cooking liquid or chill sauce until fat has hardened, then remove.

7. Cook strained and de-fatted sauce over medium-high heat until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Serve succulent ribs drizzled with the rich and flavorful sauce.

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