These ribs are an amalgam of two recipes: one for tamarind-glazed short ribs from Ana Sortun, owner and executive chef of Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, and a lemongrass-ginger-soy sauce short rib recipe I stole during one of my stints at a New York City restaurant.
• 6 short ribs, bone in • 1 onion and 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised (do this by whacking the thing against a hard surface, like your kitchen counter, a few times) and thinly sliced • 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
• 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar • 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 3/4 cup white wine (I like a sweeter white wine) • 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 4 cloves minced garlic
• 2 tablespoons tamarind paste, dissolved in 1 cup of warm water
Preheat oven to 350F.
Season ribs with salt and pepper on both sides, and pack them into a heavy roasting pan. (Some recipes recommend searing the meat before braising, which you can do. Ana Sortun doesn't require it, and the braising liquid is so flavorful that I find it unnecessary. Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Mix the rest of the ingredients (the mirepoix) in a large bowl until the tamarind and sugar completely dissolve. Pour over ribs. It depends how deep your pan is, but you want the liquid to come up almost to the top of the ribs. If you still have a ways to go, add some water until you've reached the desired depth.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and put in the oven for 3 to 4 hours. Just let it be for three hours (seriously, go read the paper or take a nap), then take a quick check. You want the meat to fall off the bone.
At this point, I like to put the entire dish into the fridge and keep it overnight. About 30 minutes before you want to eat, remove the ribs, skim the fat off of the liquid (it'll be solid now), heat up the liquid until all the solid parts are dislodged, strain the liquid, and reduce in a sauté pan for 20 minutes, or until you've reached a nice, sticky consistency. (If you don't have all night, remove the ribs, strain the liquid, and put the liquid in the freezer until you can easily remove the layer of fat on the top. Then reduce similarly.)
When you have a few more minutes of reducing to go, put your ribs in the pan and coat with the sauce until the ribs are piping hot and dripping with flavorful wonderful sauce. Eat away!