You know you’ve grown an inch or so as a cook when you make a dish pretty much instinctively without referring to a recipe, and basically just trusting your senses of sight, smell and taste in working out the best flavour forward. So a few weeks earlier, I posted about a red wine beef stew. Then, I was scrawling back and forth my phone trying to internalize the “mechanism” of making the dish. This time round, I made a couple of refinements which I feel enhanced the flavour of the beef stew by leaps. Also, I didn’t need a recipe (so pls pardon if I don’t have precise measurements; I will share the general gist of making the dish)

The extra step (I thought)that made the difference, is roasting the beef ribs BEFORE the cooking process. It really added an intense depth and flavour to the dish. The ribs will be ready to pull apart from the bone and it will also rid the meat of impurities. Dump the bones in a separate pot to make beef broth while the meat goes in to braise in red wine.

This is not a fast and quick dish. In fact, the key ingredient is patience as you need to wait for each element to cook its time. However, the good thing is it can be done in parts. I roasted the beef bone first and then did the braising and soup stock for about 1.5 hours, went out shopping for 3 hours, came back reheated the pot and added the root veggies, mushrooms for another hour or so. Though required a little effort, it was well worth the wait as the flavours worked together like magic. I thought I’d get to keep some but there are no leftovers. I haven’t come down to making my own tortellini (ring-shaped pasta typically stuffed with meat/cheese) yet, but some fresh ones stuffed with veal on the supermarket shelves and figured they might be a good accompaniment 🙂

What you need:
1.5kg beef ribs (any combi of meat and bones)
4 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
4 bay leaves
some herbs (rosemary/thyme)
1 can chopped tomato
root veggies of choice
Fresh mushrooms
double cream (optional)
corn starch
sour cream (optional)

Here’s how:
1. Wash the beef ribs (I like some meat with bone coz they give me a flavourful stock), pat dry. Lay on roasting pan, a drizzle of olive oil, salt,pepper, sprinkling of herbs. Roast at 180degrees, for 45 minutes or till browned, turning once in between. (Meanwhile, go hang your laundry:)).

2. Remove from oven. When ribs are cool, pull out meat and set aside. Place bones in a stock pot, fill to cover bones, add residual liquid from roast in and boil on medium high for about 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, in another pot, prepare 4 cloves garlic smashed and 1 big yellow onions sliced. Fry with olive oil till slightly onions are soft, add beef meat and fry for another 5 min. Add 2 cups of red wine (add more or less depending on preference) to braise the beef till tender (about 1 hour). The wine broth will reduce so check regularly to see that it doesn’t dry up. Add more red wine if too dry.

3. When flavour has set into the beef, add your root veggies (parsnips, potatoes, carrots, celery etc), and mushrooms (I used portabellos), 4 bay leaves, together with beef broth (from the bones) and let the flavours cook out (another 30-40 minutes). Towards the end, add a can of chopped tomatoes for tang. I added a 1-2 tablespoon of cream, and 2 tablespoon of corn starch solution to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve over fresh tortellini, pasta or rice, with a dollop of sour cream.