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Make Craftsteak’s marvelous braised short ribs

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The braised short ribs at Craftsteak are heaven in a pan.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

The Details

Craftsteak
At MGM Grand, 891-7318.
Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10:30 p.m.

Prior to becoming lead judge on Top Chef, Tom Colicchio was a founding partner of Gramercy Tavern in New York City. In 2002, shortly after establishing his Craft Restaurants empire, he opened the Las Vegas outpost inside the MGM. A decade later, Craftsteak remains a Strip mainstay.

The braised short ribs are a successful staple harkening to the founding of Craft Restaurants, virtually unchanged from Colicchio’s original recipe. On a recent visit to town, New York executives bragged about serving an average of 200 pounds of short ribs per week. Craftsteak’s executive chef, Robert Kirchhoff, scoffed. His Vegas restaurant serves upwards of 1,200 pounds a week.

Braised Short Ribs

(serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. peanut oil

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

4 large, meaty beef short ribs (about 4 pounds total), cut in halves

1 small onion (peeled & chopped)

1 carrot (peeled & chopped)

1 stalk celery (peeled & chopped)

3 cloves garlic (unpeeled)

5 sprigs fresh thyme

8 fresh hot cherry peppers

½ cup sherry vinegar

2-3 cups brown chicken stock

2 sprigs fresh tarragon

Method: 1. Heat the oven to 350. Heat the oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until it simmers. Salt and pepper the ribs and cook them in batches until they are nicely browned on all sides—about 20 minutes per batch. 2. Remove the ribs and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, two sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally for about five minutes until the vegetables begin to soften, adding the peppers afterwards. Continue cooking for 5-10 more minutes until the vegetables are tender and browned. 3. Return the ribs to the skillet. Add the vinegar and enough stock to come up the sides but not over the ribs. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer. Add the tarragon and remaining thyme, then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook at a very gentle simmer (just an occasional bubble) for one hour. Turn the ribs and continue cooking for about 1½ hours until the meat is tender and comes easily away from the bone. 4. Transfer the ribs and vegetables to a plate. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer and skim off the fat. Reduce the liquid slightly—just so it has a little body—then return the ribs and vegetables to the skillet. Simmer just long enough to reheat the ribs and serve.

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