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Slow Braised Ribs with Italian Slaw

Food

DEVASTATED to say farewell today to our favourite local foodie, Julia Busuttil Nishimura!  Julia’s comforting Autumnal recipes have made the transition to wintery weather just a little more bearable for me this month. Thanks too to Melbourne ceramicist Jessilla Rogers for her input, creating all the stunning tableware featured in this month’s recipes!

Julia leaves us today with a melt-in-your mouth recipe, just perfect for a wintery weekend feast.

 

28th April, 2015

Slow Braised Ribs with Italian Slaw ingredients. Ceramic Platter by Shiko and plate by Jessilla Rogers. Recipe – Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Styling – Natalie Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.

Slow Braised Ribs with Italian Slaw straight out of the oven and ready for serving. Recipe – Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Styling – Natalie Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.

Slow Braised Ribs with Italian Slaw. Dinner plate by Shiko, handmade plates by Jessilla Rogers and gold cutlery by Cutipol from Francalia. Recipe – Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Styling – Natalie Turnbull, Photo – Eve Wilson.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura of Ostro
Tuesday 28th April 2015

This dish is luxe, there is no doubt about it. Slow braised for over three hours in a heady mix of thyme, balsamic vinegar and wine, these ribs are melt-in-your-mouth decadent. To balance out their richness, I’ve paired them with a crisp and refreshing slaw, lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. It is the perfect Autumnal transitional dish, whilst the weather sorts out what it’s doing! I often serve these ribs with the creamy polenta I made with the mushrooms when it’s super cold and I’m after something really comforting. If you have left overs, the meat makes a wonderful filling for tacos the next day too!

When choosing ribs, make sure they’re really meaty with a good amount of marbling and fat. I think, like when buying fruit, vegetables, or anything else you consume for that matter, that buying from vendors you trust who can tell you where the produce comes from is really important. I really like the Cape Grim Beef ribs I found at Gary’s Quality Meats in Prahran Market, but I’m sure you’ll have your own preference. You can get the ribs cut along or across the bone, it doesn’t make a huge difference as they’re so tender once cooked, the meat will just fall away from the bones anyway.

This is the perfect dish to make on a cool Autumn weekend, a one-pot meal that can be thrown in the oven and forgotten about for an afternoon while you attend to more important things! I usually cook the dish in an oven-proof cast iron pot which can go from the stove into the oven. If you don’t have one, just start them off in a pan and then transfer to a large baking or casserole dish.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the ribs

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large meaty beef ribs
  • 3 shallots, halved
  • 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 5 sprigs of thyme, plus extra to garnish
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 500ml chicken stock

For the slaw

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
  • 1/4 white cabbage, shredded
  • 6-7 radicchio leaves, shredded
  • 3 sticks celery, finely sliced
  • Handful parsley, roughly torn
  • 80g parmesan, shaved

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Pat the ribs dry and trim them of any excess fat (you can also ask the butcher to do this for you). Season them well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. Add ribs in batches and brown well. Transfer the ribs to a plate and move on to your vegetables.

If there is a lot of fat in the pot, drain some of it away so that you are just left with about one tablespoon of oil. Add the shallots, celery, and carrot and brown in the pan, cooking them for about five minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further few minutes or until garlic has softened a little.

Add the red wine and balsamic vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan. Return the ribs back into the pot, making sure they’re nicely covered with vegetables. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, making sure the ribs are mostly covered with liquid. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 3-3.5 hours or until meat is lovely and tender.

When ready, you can serve the ribs as they are, in the pot with all the vegetables and thyme. At this point however, the liquid will be quite thin. Another option is to carefully remove the ribs and set aside, skim the fat and strain the liquid from the vegetables. The liquid can then be returned to the heat to reduce and served as a sauce over the ribs.

While the ribs are cooling a little, you can get onto to the slaw. For the dressing, combine two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice in a bowl. For a dressing, the ratio 100ml of olive oil to 50ml of lemon juice is often just right, but this will depend on both the oil and lemons you are using, so adjust as necessary. Whisk to combine and season to taste.

Combine the fennel, cabbage, radicchio and celery in bowl. Tear in the parsley leaves and the reserved fennel fronds. Add the parmesan and toss to combine.

Pour over the dressing and mix well. This should be done just before serving as the cabbage wilts quite quickly. Season to taste.

Scatter the ribs with the extra thyme leaves and serve with the slaw.

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