Before you begin, preheat the oven to 275°F.
Season the short ribs with a little salt and pepper.
Peel and chop the carrot, onion, and celery into 1 inch pieces.
Working in two batches, sear the ribs 3-4 minutes per side in a little oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot set over high heat. Remove and set aside and repeat with second batch.
Reduce heat to medium high and toss in the vegetables. Sauté until they begin to color, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Take care not to blacken the bottom of the pot.
Add the tomato paste to the pot with the vegetables, letting it stick to the bottom and brown, about 1-2 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with 1/2 the bottle of red wine. Scrape the pot with a wooden spoon to get all those brown goodies.
Place the short rib on top of the vegetable mixture in one even layer, bone side down.
Add the veal stock, garlic and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
Cover the pan with a lid and place it in the oven. Cook until fork tender. This could take up to 4 hours, depending on your oven, so plan accordingly.
Once tender, remove ribs to a plate and keep warm.
Do not throw away the cooking liquid. You will need it later.
Break the cauliflower unto florets and place in medium sauce pot.
Add the pint of cream and 1/4 cup water
Simmer until the cauliflower is fully cooked and the liquid has boiled away to about a cup.
*At this point, the puree will look like a broken, nasty mess, but it will come together in the blender.
Place it all in a blender and buzz. The cauliflower should turn into a smooth, cream-colored puree - add more water for desired consistency.
If the puree was cooked enough, you can get away without straining it. Just season with salt.
While it is still warm, swirl in the butter.
Heat a large sauté pan and add a little oil.
Add the cauliflower and toss until it begins to brown in spots.
Transfer to a sheet tray and bake until the cauliflower is cooked and nicely colored. You want to start checking it every 5 minutes after the first 10 minutes.
When it is cooked, season it with a little salt and a drizzle of good olive oil.
In a large sauté pan, cook the onions in the oil until they begin to show color. (It's ok if they break up a little bit).
When the onions are getting nice and dark, add all the braising liquid and cook until it begins to thicken. You aren't looking for something you can stand a spoon up in, just a nice, dark, chunky sauce.
When it has been fully cooked out, swirl in the butter. Season with salt and pepper if it needs it, but remember, the base liquid had the seasoned ribs in it, so you may not need it.
A nice touch is to brighten the sauce up with a drip or two of red wine vinegar.
Chef's Note on Stock: If you don't have veal or beef stock on hand, don't worry. You can just use water and still have a pretty good base for a sauce. If you have to go this route, a good trick is to throw a split pig trotter into the liquid. This will absolutely restore the body that you are sacrificing by not having proper stock. You can get a pig foot at your local grocery if you live in the south, like us, but otherwise you may have to head to the Asian or Mexican grocery. If you have never been to your local Asian or Mexican market, you are in for a treat! Chef's Note on 'Fork Tender" - This is the classic hallmark of whether a braised dish is done or not. What it means is that you can slide a carving fork (not a table fork) into the meat and then pull it out without the meat coming with it. If it clings, it needs more cook time. Never rush a braise. (If the bones fall out, you have gone too far, but that's ok. It will still be delicious.) To Finish: Warm your plates! Chef's Note: This is one thing that separates pros from home cooks, and it's so easy to do. 10 seconds in a hot oven is all you really need. Make sure all of your components are nice and hot. Spoon a little of the cauliflower puree over a warmed plate. Place 2 pieces of short ribs onto the puree. Place a few pieces of cauliflower around, as decoratively as you like. Spoon the sauce over each short ribs, coating as well as you can. Don't be stingy, try to use all the sauce. It has all the flavor of the ribs in it, you don't want to waste it. Drizzle the sauce around the plate and decorate each plate with a few English pea tendrils or microgreens Enjoy!
Sponsor courtesy of Josh Cellars Wine