Braised Short-Ribs with Chocolate and Rosemary

It’s already the end of January and the Valentine’s Day is only 2 weeks away.  I’m not a big romantic person: I don’t expect much nor have done anything romantic in my marriage.  My husband knows that so he also keeps it very low key (which I appreciate it).  Every Valentine’s Day I try to make something special since my husband’s birthday is a day after Valentine’s.  Now that I have been consistently food blogging, I feel this obligation to start cooking and baking prior to different holidays.  So, today’s dinner was in preparation for the Valentine’s!  I had this recipe from Bon Appetit for awhile, in fact the first time I made this dish was about 6 years ago and we all fell in love with this dish.  You’ll be surprised how well the chocolate and rosemary marry each other and create such wonderfully smooth flavor. 

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Makes 6-8 Servings:

  • 1/4 cup diced pancetta (Italian bacon; about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 6 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped drained canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 very large fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons shaved or grated bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Heat heavy large pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown ribs in drippings in pot over medium-high heat until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to plate.

Add onions and next 4 ingredients to pot. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add wine. Boil uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pancetta. Return ribs to pot, cover partially, and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and simmer until rib meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours longer.
Transfer ribs to plate; discard bay leaf. Spoon fat from surface of sauce. Boil sauce until beginning to thicken, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add chocolate, cocoa powder, and rosemary; stir until chocolate melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return ribs to pot. Simmer to rewarm, about 5 minutes.

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My opinion:  I used 70% Dark Chocolate;  you can’t really taste the chocolate, but it creates smoothness to this dish.  It’s an interesting balance of subtle rosemary flavor and mellow chocolate, then you throw in the heartiness of pancetta and short ribs.  This is so very delicious over mashed potatoes, but guess what?  I also loved eating this over hot rice!! 

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