Falling-Off-The-Bone Short Ribs
There aren't many short rib preparations that I haven't enjoyed. This versatile, tasty cut of beef gives us everything you can ask for in beef: You get marbled beef, and bones for flavor. This recipe is especially succulent. Ask your butcher for "English cut" short ribs. This cut tends to be tender, makes a better presentation, and is very economical. (The other common cut for short ribs is "flanken cut," which is great in soups and stews.)
Place the short ribs in a large stockpot filled with water and bring to a boil. Boil the short ribs for 5 minutes. Drain and discard the water. (This helps remove the fat.)
Pat dry the ribs thoroughly with a paper towel. Season the ribs with salt and pepper.
Combine the dried thyme, dried rosemary, porcini dust, and flour in a bowl.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Dredge the ribs in the porcini mixture. Brown the ribs in batches until the ribs are browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the ribs to the insert of a 6-1/2-quart slow cooker.
Pour off most of the fat from the sauté pan. Brown the celery, onions, carrots, and fennel in batches, about 7 minutes per batch. Season each batch with salt and pepper. Add the garlic to the last batch and cook for 3 minutes more, until the garlic is very fragrant and slightly softened. Do not over-brown the garlic.
Transfer the browned vegetables to the insert. Add the wine and the tomato paste to the sauté pan. Stir together with a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the tomato paste. Gently scrape the pan to gather up the browned bits.
Transfer the wine to the insert. Add the stock and bouquet garni. Cover and cook on Low for 10 hours.
Remove the short ribs from the insert and place them on a platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep them warm. Pour the braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a saucepan. Discard the vegetables and bouquet garni. Skim the fat off the liquid. Reduce over high heat by one half, or until the liquid is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the ribs.
Serve with your choice of accompaniment, such as grits or a white bean ragù.