Ribs improve in flavor when braised, especially when done a day or so in advance. To do ahead, cook as directed, then cool the ribs completely, uncovered. Once cool, cover and refrigerate. To serve, reheat the ribs, covered, in a 350 F oven for 1 to 11⁄2 hours.
Serve these short ribs with buttered egg noodles tossed with chopped fresh parsley, or mashed potatoes or rice.
Start to finish: 41⁄2 hours (35 minutes active)
1⁄4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika (not hot)
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
4 to 41⁄4 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 bay leaves
1⁄4 cup chopped garlic
2 cups beef broth
Two 12-ounce bottles stout, such as Guinness
Two 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, paprika, curry powder, cumin, pepper, salt and mustard.
Use paper towels to pat the ribs dry. Arrange them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan or a shallow baking dish, then generously coat all sides of ribs with spice mixture. Chill, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 F.
In a large Dutch oven over high, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the ribs, working in batches if necessary, and quickly brown them on the three meaty sides (but not bone side), about one minute per side.
Transfer the meat to a large plate, then the add leeks, carrots, celery and bay leaves. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
Add the broth, beer and tomatoes with their juice, then add the ribs and any juices accumulated on the plate. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Cover the pot tightly with foil, then the lid. Place in the oven and braise until the meat is very tender, 2 to 21⁄2 hours. A pairing knife inserted into the meat should have little resistance.
Skim off excess fat from the surface of sauce. Discard the bay leaves before serving.
Recipe adapted from the March 2005 issue of Gourmet magazine