Chinese-style beef short ribs from the CSA with braised oyster mushrooms

This meat from Herondale Farm is really incredible stuff. Worth it. I also had a package of oyster mushrooms, so I thought I’d add them in as well. I make most Chinese food by feel/taste and not recipe, but here’s approximately what this was. It should serve 4 people, though I could see two very hungry people eating the whole thing.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds beef short ribs (should be about 8 3-inch pieces)
  • Half a small onion
  • Two cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • One inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2T Soy sauce
  • 2T Black/dark soy sauce
  • 1T Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2T rock sugar (can substitute turbinado or white sugar with some brown sugar, we just tend to use rock sugar in Chinese food so I always have it on hand)
  • One star anise
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • Dash of white pepper (optional)
  • Dash of chili powder (omit if you don’t like spicy food)
  • Dash of ground Szechuan peppercorns (omit if you don’t like this particular flavor, though it adds a nice bright flavor on top of the numbing kick)
  • Oyster mushrooms, sliced (I used about 3/4 lb.)

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a Dutch oven (or similar) over medium-high heat. Brown short ribs on all sides (can skip the bone ends), a couple minutes per side. Finish with the long side closest to the bone so that’s on the bottom during braising.
  3. Add 2 cups of water and all of the rest of the ingredients except the white pepper, chili powder, and Szechuan pepper to the pan and bring to a simmer, which should be very quickly. I also left out some of the sugar so I could add it to taste later. You can taste the liquid now, but note that it will take on the flavor of the meat and reduce significantly, so don’t worry about salt levels.
  4. Cover and transfer to the oven. Let cook for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is very tender. It might come off the bone, which is fine.
  5. Remove the meat from the liquid and tent with foil. Strain and de-fat the liquid (I use a separator, but you can skim or whatever).
  6. Heat the pan (don’t clean it) over medium heat and saute the mushrooms in a little more oil until soft, scraping down the sides and adding a little water as needed. Add the cooking liquid back in along with the white pepper, chili powder, and Szechuan pepper, and simmer until thickened and mushrooms take on that braised feel, about 5-10 minutes. Taste as the liquid is reducing and add seasoning as needed, whether that’s sugar for a little more sweetness, soy sauce for savory, or water if it’s too aggressive.
  7. Pour the mushrooms and sauce over the short ribs and serve with rice. A green veggie is a good accompaniment, but not something heavy like Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce – more like bok choy or pea shoots (even better) sauteed with just a little salt and this seasoning stuff we use (it’s almost like bouillon in a crystallized pellet form; I’ll try to find out what it is exactly).
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Chinese-style beef short ribs from the CSA with braised oyster mushrooms

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