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Braised beef short ribs with Swiss chard

Serves 6

Suzanne Goin tried to take this dish off the Lucques menu, but a customer revolt convinced her otherwise. Use flanken-style ribs, which have several small sections of bone in each piece. Allow time to marinate the short ribs the night before braising them.

6 flanken-style beef short ribs (14 to 16 ounces each)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon black pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, or to taste
3 dozen small pearl onions
8 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small celery stalk, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bunches Swiss chard, stemmed with leaves torn into large pieces

1. Sprinkle the short ribs with 1 tablespoon of thyme and 1 tablespoon pepper, rubbing them into the meat with your hands. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Before cooking, let the ribs sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Set the oven at 425 degrees.

3. Sprinkle the ribs with 1 tablespoon of the salt.

4. Toss the onions with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them for 15 minutes or until they are very tender. When they are cool, slip off the skins with your fingers and set the onions aside. Turn the oven down to 325.

5. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over high heat until it is almost smoking. Sear the shortribs, meaty sides down, working in batches to avoid crowding, until they are browned on their meaty sides. Transfer to a roasting pan large enough to hold the ribs standing up in one layer.

6. Turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves to the skillet. Cook, stirring to scrape the crusty bits in the pan, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to caramelize.

7. Add the vinegar, port, and wine. Turn the heat to high, and let the liquid bubble steadily until they reduce by half.

8. Pour in the stock and return the mixture to a boil. Pour the liquid over the short ribs; it should almost cover them. Tuck the parsley around the meat. Cover tightly with foil.

9. Braise for about 3 hours, or until the meat offers no resistance when pierced with a paring knife. Let the ribs rest for 10 minutes in their juices. Remove them from the oven and then transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet.

10. Turn the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast the ribs for 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned.

11. Meanwhile, strain the cooking juices into a saucepan, pressing the vegetables to extract all the liquid. Skim off and discard the fat. Bring to a boil and let the mixture simmer to reduce it so it thickens slightly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

12. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Stir in the pearl onions, add half the Swiss chard, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until wilted. Add a splash of water and the rest of the greens. Season with a large pinch of salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, until they are tender.

13. On a large platter, set the Swiss chard mixture. Arrange the short ribs on top, and spoon the cooking juices over them. Serve with potato puree and horseradish cream.

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