Short ribs are always an excellent menu choice for a classic holiday dinner. The Port wine reduction and garlic butter enhance the natural flavors in the red meat, bring you and your dinner guest an natural and delicious entrée.
Recipe compliments of Marc Forgione
Thoroughly pat the ribs dry and season them liberally with salt. Refrigerate the ribs, uncovered, overnight.
Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 40 minutes before cooking. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F; position the rack in the middle. Make a bouquet garni with 8 sprigs of the thyme, the rosemary, bacon, celery, and 2 fresh (or 1 dried) bay leaves. Tie the bouquet garni together with kitchen twine.
Add enough oil to a large ovenproof heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven to cover the bottom of the pot and set it over high heat. Just before it starts to smoke, add the ribs, and reduce the heat to medium-high. Brown the ribs on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the butter and halved garlic heads and cook until the butter browns. Transfer the ribs to a platter and set aside. Remove half of the butter from the pot and discard. Return the pot to the stovetop and add the bouquet garni. Cook for 1 minute until the bacon begins to brown. Add the garlic cloves, shallots, carrots, onions, and peppercorns to the pot and cook until the vegetables brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add 6 cups of the wine, and 3 cups of the Port. Cook until the mixture has reduced by one-third. Return the ribs to the pot, add the veal and chicken stocks, and bring to a simmer. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pot, and cover tightly with a lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for about 4 hours.
While the ribs cook, make the Port reduction. In a medium pot set over medium heat, combine the remaining 3 cups of Port, sugar, a pinch of black pepper (4 to 5 turns on the pepper mill), and salt to taste. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until it reduces by half and the reduction thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove the ribs from the Dutch oven to a plate. Strain the remaining sauce using a fine mesh strainer into a pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, skimming off any fat. Add the Port reduction. Return the ribs to the Dutch oven and pour the sauce over the ribs (if you have the time, let them sit overnight, if not, they can be served immediately).
If cooling the ribs overnight, about 1 hour and 15 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; position the rack in the middle. Place the ribs and their sauce in an ovenproof dish, place the bay leaves on top, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Cover the dish and warm the ribs in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes more, or until the meat is soft and warmed through.
Combine all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.