Braised Beef Short Rib Tacos with Pickled Vegetables

Braised beef short ribs would probably make my top five favorite foods. I love the rich flavor and luscious mouthfeel. Each time I make them I’m impressed by how the simple, quick work I do upfront is transformed by a couple hours tucked away in the oven. I have to admit, though, once it starts heating up outside, a braised meat dish can feel a bit heavy. Enter: Braised beef tacos.

These tacos are the perfect warm-weather solution to my short rib cravings. The succulent meat is balanced beautifully by tangy pickled vegetables and cooling sour cream. Throw in some herbaceousness via fresh cilantro and a splash of extra acidity with a lime wedge and you’ve got a dish that hits all points on the palate – a kicky culinary experience!

Braised Beef Short Rib Tacos with Pickled Vegetables

For the pickled vegetables:

1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c water
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
3 radishes, julienned

For the short ribs:

2 lbs. beef short ribs
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig rosemary
1 c red wine
3 c beef stock
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For serving:

Corn tortillas
Sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges

1. In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar until the salt and sugar dissolve. Stir in the julienned carrot and radish. Allow the vegetables to pickle in the refrigerator while you make the short ribs.
2. Peheat the oven to 350˚ F. Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Generously salt and pepper the short ribs and, once the oil is hot, add them to the pot. Deeply brown all sides of the beef, then remove them from the pot and place them on a plate.
3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent, then stir in the star anise, cinnamon, and rosemary.
4. Add the wine and deglaze, pushing a wooden spoon along the bottom of the pot to pull up any browned bits. Stir in the beef stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
5. Turn off the heat, return the short ribs to the pot, cover, and place in the preheated oven. Cook until the beef is tender and falling off the bones, about two hours, turning the short ribs about halfway through cooking.
6. Use two forks or a fork and a pair of tongs to pull out the bones and shred the meat. Toss the meat with the remaining sauce from the pot.
7. Serve the short ribs and pickles with the tortillas, sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Nima’s Pairing Suggestions:

Herencia Mexicana Blanco Tequila
On the nose, there are glorious floral and herbal notes. On the palate, there is a real presence of green pepper, vegetal notes. A true expression of terrior at an unbeatable price for such high quality tequila

Koch El Mezcal Wild Agave
Koch El Mezcal is an unthinkably rare spirit produced exclusively from a range of wild agave. The individual, intensely idiosyncratic, agave grow under harsh and generally prohibitive conditions come together to form a poised, charming, and tenaciously subtle mezcal. Distinguished notes of flora, mineral salts, and delicate spices tease your senses. On the palate, agave nectar rolls off the tongue while a pillow of smoke seems to linger endlessly on the finish.

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