Bon Appétit (June 2016)
Short ribs mean winter.
We've said this many times before: If there's any meat we most associate with winter cooking, it's beef short ribs. A pot of short ribs braising in the oven is, for us, as much a sign of cold weather as the first snowfall or those horrible car ads in which a husband surprises his wife with a new car in the driveway with a huge bow on it. (First of all, how misogynistic can you get? Second, you made a huge household financial decision as a surprise? That's just poor marital communication. Also: a huge bow? Seriously??)
But we digress.
The point is: Short ribs = winter.
So we were more than a little intrigued when we saw these short rib kebabs in the new Bon Appétit. They're part of a really great spread on kebabs and skewers, which also includes Barbecue Pork With Blistered Chile–Pumpkin Seed Salsa, Cumin-Chile Lamb Kebabs with Garlic Yogurt, and Soy-Basted Chicken Kebabs with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle.
Those all sound really tasty. But it was these short ribs that caught our eye.
Short ribs in summer? We're on it.
Really, the skewering isn't the time-consuming part of this recipe. It's the Peanut-Chile Oil and the marinade for the meat that take most of the prep time. You can do both of those well in advance, though. So when it comes time to actually grill this meat, it only takes about 15 minutes to get it from fridge to the table.
(Side note: We think Bon App may have goofed slightly in the photo accompanying these kebabs. See that sauce in their photo below? With the peanuts and charred bits floating in a thin red sauce? We have no idea what that is. It's definitely not the Peanut-Chile Oil in this recipe. As you can see in our photo above, our condiment was green and not very liquid-y. But we can't figure out which of the condiments from this entire kebabs feature would look like that thin red sauce. So basically: Don't worry about the sauce in the Bon Appétit photo. Yours will not look like that.) [UPDATE: Turns out we should have used dried chiles instead of fresh ones. As per some folks in the comments section, making this recipe with dried guajillo chiles will indeed give you the charred, red-tinted oil from BA's photo.]
Anyway, the marinade here, with its South Asian flavor notes of lemongrass, coconut and fish oil, is to die for. It infuses the meat with an amazing depth of flavor. And then the Peanut Oil is a perfect accompaniment, carrying some of the same South Asian flavors over and adding heat from the chiles and crunch from the roasted peanuts.
This is an absolute knockout of a dish.
And the best part is, we just found a whole new season in which to eat short ribs.
1 lemongrass stalk
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, chopped
½ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 dried guajillo or dried New Mexico chiles or 2 dried ancho chiles, seeds removed, flesh torn
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup crushed salted, roasted peanuts
2 teaspoons fish sauce
Short Ribs And Assembly
1¼ pounds boneless beef short ribs
1 lemongrass stalk
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
|2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Vegetable oil (for grill)
Eight 8–12-inch-long metal skewers
Remove tough outer layers from lemongrass. Trim off top third of stalk; discard. Bruise remaining stalk by whacking a few times against a cutting board. Transfer lemongrass to a small saucepan and add shallot, garlic, ginger, oil, and salt and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cook, reducing heat as needed to keep at a low boil, until shallot is soft and just beginning to turn golden around edges, 15–20 minutes. Remove from heat and add chiles and red pepper flakes, pushing down with a spoon and stirring occasionally until chiles soften slightly. Purée in a blender until chiles are broken down to small flecks (be careful not to overprocess). Transfer to a small bowl; stir in peanuts and fish sauce.
Do Ahead: Peanut-chile oil can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Short Ribs And Assembly
To make them easier to slice, freeze ribs just until very firm around edges, 20–30 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove tough outer layers from lemongrass. Finely grate bottom third of stalk; discard remainder or freeze for another use. Combine lemongrass, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and turmeric in a large resealable plastic bag. Slice short ribs lengthwise against the grain into 1/4"-thick strips and add to bag. Seal bag, pressing out air, and chill at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grates. Remove beef from marinade, letting excess drip off. Thread onto 6–8 skewers, folding back and forth in accordion style; season lightly with salt. Grill, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve beef with peanut-chile oil.