Jacob’s Ladder Beef Ribs, braised in rich liquor, are such a delight. They have a terrific ratio of fat to dense, tense and marbled meat, which, when given the correct treatment, yields something truly unctuous.
This recipe is based on a Spanish, or more specifically Andalusian, dish of oxtail. Sherry is used a lot in cooking in that region of Spain, and they are fantastic fortified wines to cook with. They have a natural salinity, as well as depth and often a touch of sweetness, all of which contribute to a complexity of your final dishes. Oloroso, as we are using here, is a happy match for the Jacob’s Ladder Beef Ribs. This recipe also employs the clever technique of blitzing the vegetables with the braising liquor to thicken the sauce.
Jacob’s ladder, braised in oloroso w/ fried potatoes
Serves 4 hungry humans
- For the braise
2 large onions, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, washed and diced
10 black peppercorns
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
6 fresh bay leaves
1 ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
250ml Oloroso sherry
1 tbsp sherry or balsamic vinegar
300ml home-made beef stock
- For the potatoes
4 large potatoes
- For the braise:
- Preheat your oven to 140°C.
- Take a casserole pan that is big enough to house the Jacob’s Ladder Beef Ribs. Place it over a high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Season the beef well with salt and then place in the pan, ribs facing up.
- Colour off the beef on all sides and then remove from the pan and leave to one side.
- Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and bay leaves, plus a pinch of salt. Sweat off the vegetables over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 15 minutes – until they are beginning to break down.
- Add the paprika, cloves and peppercorns and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Then add the Oloroso, beef stock and vinegar.
- Add the Jacob’s Ladder Beef Ribs back to the casserole pan.
- Bring all this to a simmer and then fit it with a lid and place in the oven. Set a timer for 3 ½ hours.
- When the timer goes off, remove the pot from the oven and check if the ribs are cooked by inserting a small knife into the meat — it should offer little resistance. Be careful to insert the knife into the meat rather than the fat, as the fat will definitely be soft and could be misleading. If the meat is still a little firm, then return it to the oven and check after a further half an hour. Once you are happy that it is cooked, leave it to sit and rest for half an hour.
- Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Take a stick blender, or alternatively tip the contents of the pan into a food processor and blitz the braising liquor and vegetables until relatively smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- For the potatoes:
- Peel the potatoes and slice them horizontally to about the thickness of a pound coin. Place them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Toss them together and leave them for 20 minutes.
- Heat your fryer, or a pot of vegetable oil on the stove to 160°C.
- In batches (as you don’t want to overfill the pan/fryer), fry off the potatoes for 5-6 minutes. Then, when golden, remove from the oil and tip onto some kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Season with a little salt and a dusting of smoked paprika. Repeat the process until all the potatoes are cooked.
To serve, cut in between each rib of the beef and then cover in sauce; fried potatoes on the side.