5-Spice Short Ribs with Chilies and Wilted Basil 

SERVES: 6-8

You can use either boneless or bone-in short ribs for this recipe, though the bone-in ones may take an extra 30 minutes or so in the oven to become truly tender. If using boneless short ribs, reduce the total quantity to 3 pounds. The glory of a braise is it’s even better on days 2 and 3 so by all means make this in advance, and return it to a 350 degree oven to gently reheat.

Active Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 4 hrs

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Produce

  • ¾ pound large shallots (about 8)
  • 3-inch piece of ginger (1.5 ounces)
  • 3 serrano peppers
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 large bunch basil
  • 3-4 limes, cut into wedges, for serving

Pantry

  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons 5-spice powder
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 cups short grain white rice

Meat

  • 4 pounds bone-in short ribs
5-Spice Short Ribs with Chilies and Wilted Basil 2

1. Do some prep:

  • Peel and halve ¾ pound large shallots.
  • Finely chop enough ginger to measure 3 slightly heaping tablespoons. (No need to peel the ginger.)
  • Thinly slice 1 serrano pepper. Reserve the other two for serving.
  • Peel and thinly slice 10 cloves of garlic.
  • Pick the leaves from 2 bunches of basil, measuring about 1 ½ cups packed leaves. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Tie the basil stems together with kitchen string to form a bundle. If you don’t have twine, all good, you’ll just throw the stems in the pot and fish them out later on.

2. Sear the short ribs:

  • Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300.
  • Generously season the short ribs on all 6 sides with salt. Don’t hold back! Really shower every inch of meat. You can season the short ribs up to 2 days in advance and, frankly, the further in advance the better.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven (12” diameter) with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add short ribs, in batches if necessary so as not to overcrowd the pan, and sear until deeply golden on all 4 sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer seared short ribs to a plate.

3. Build the base of the braise:

  • Drain all but 3 tablespoons oil from the pot, reserving any excess.
  • Return pot to medium-high heat. Add the shallots, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden on the edges, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the ginger, garlic, jalapenos, and cook 1 minute, just to soften. Add 3 tablespoons miso paste and continue to saute, 2 minutes more.
  • Push aromatics to the sides of the pot to create a well in the center. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 ½ teaspoons 5-spice powder. Stir to coat the spices in the oil and toast until aromatic, 1 minute. Stir to incorporate aromatics and continue sauteing, 1-2 minutes more.
  • Add 2 cups water, and a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, scraping the drippings from the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Stir in 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 packed tablespoon brown sugar, and the basil stems. Nestle the short ribs back in, along with any accumulated juices on the plate.
  • Bring the braising liquid to a brisk simmer, cover the pot with a lid, and transfer to the oven. Braise, flipping the short ribs every hour, and adding a few splashes of water as needed if the sauce reduces too much, until the meat is super tender and pulls apart easily with two forks, about 3-4 hours.

4. Cook the rice:

  • About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, rinse 3 cups of short grain white rice through a fine-mesh strainer, swooshing the rice around in a circular motion until the water runs clear.
  • Shake the strainer to allow the excess water to drain off the rice. Place the rice in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Stir in 3 ¾ cups cold water and 1 tablespoon salt.
  • Set the rice over medium-high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat to very low. Set a timer for 18 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Remove the lid, and fluff the rice with a fork. Keep the rice covered in the pot until ready to serve.

5. Serve it up:

  • If desired, skim and discard any fat on the surface of the braise. (If making this in advance, you can easily scrape and discard any solidified fat on the surface of the braise after it’s been chilled.)
  • Tear meat into large chunks using two forks. Add the basil leaves to the pot, stir to distribute and wilt. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt.
  • Cut 4 limes in half.
  • Serve short ribs and their sauce over rice. Squeeze half of lime over each bowl, sprinkle with thinly sliced jalapenos, and serve with more lime wedges.

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