What do you do when you’re stressed out? If we’re being honest, most often we find ourselves motionless on the couch doom-scrolling Twitter and forgetting to drink water, but there’s a better way. And as with all things, Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa, is showing us how to manage election-day stress with elegance and grace. In a recent Instagram post, she laid out her election day plans, and they include a cozy day of self-care ending in a delicious dinner that we’re currently drooling over. Garten says she’s “doing everything I can to stay positive today,” so why not follow suit?
Before she started cooking, Garten set the mood. She built a big cozy fire in the fireplace (though if you don’t have a fireplace, lighting a nice candle or plugging in a string of fairy lights will add a similar warm glow to your space) and put on the Barefoot Contessa Women Who Rock playlist (available on Apple Music and Spotify).
Then, she started making her Red Wine Braised Short Ribs. Short ribs are one of our favorite cuts of meat for low and slow cooking. They’re marbled with fat, and fat is flavor, so as the meat slowly cooks and the fat renders out, it makes each bite utterly succulent and rich. This is especially true when the braising liquid is made from aromatic-spiked red wine.
First, Garten roasts the short ribs, to help caramelize their exterior, which adds a savory depth of flavor to the braise. Then, she sautees aromatic vegetables (leeks, celery, onion, carrots) in a large Dutch oven (her favorite Le Creuset one is 40% off at Wayfair), adds a full bottle of red wine and a bottle of Guiness along with broth and tomatoes, and nestles the browned short ribs in the fragrant liquid.
The ribs are slow cooked in the covered Dutch oven for about two hours, making your house smell like a French bistro in the meantime. What to do while the time passes? NOT get worked up watching election coverage…maybe make some homemade bread instead (using one of Garten’s bread recipes, naturally), so you have something that can soak up all of the red wine braising liquid when you eat your short ribs.
For dessert, why not try your hand at one of Ina Garten’s best cake recipes? Making a cake takes just as much care and attention as making the short ribs, providing ample distraction from current events and giving you something to look forward to at the end of the day. You might not go to bed knowing who the next president is, but you’ll certainly be nice and full and ready for a good night’s sleep.
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Before you go, check out Garten’s best dinner recipes below: