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Author Notes: I recently catered a friend's wedding cocktail hour and came home with leftover fresh salsa verde and a case of beer and wine. There was a good deal at the store for beef back ribs, so I took some cues from a recent trip to Mexico and braised the hell out of those bad boys to wrap up some mean tacos. Marrying red wine and salsa verde sounds like it would be a recipe for something too acidic, but the flavors mellow out to a nice balance of sweet and tart- a great contrast to the tender, fatty rib meat. —chairmanhu
beef back ribs
cups good cabernet sauvignon
cups fresh tomatillo salsa verde
medium onion, chopped
cloves garlic, minced
- Cut the ribs so each piece has two bones. If you want, you can peel the membrane from the underside of the ribs, but I like to keep it there. Adds more textural contrast in my book.
- Set the oven to 250 degrees F.
- Salt the ribs and then sear them on all sides over high heat in a large skillet. Do this in batches if your pan isn't large enough. You don't want to crowd the pan. Place the seared ribs in a baking dish or shallow roasting pan that will fit all of them in a single layer.
- Using the same skillet, turn the heat down to medium and add the onions and garlic. Stir around until the onions begin to brown.
- Deglaze the pan by adding the red wine, turning the heat up to high, and stirring the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the flavorful browned bits. Then add the salsa verde and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
- Pour the mixture over the ribs, cover, and then braise in the oven for 4 hours or until the meat is fork tender and falling off of the bones.
- Remove the ribs from the braising liquid and allow to rest in a covered dish for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the braising liquid to a pot and reduce to half its volume over high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning at the bottom of the pot.
- Slide the meat off the rib bones, roughly chop and then recombine with some of the reduced sauce to give them a nice shine, but not so much that it turns into a stew/soup.
- Serve on pan toasted tortillas topped with fresh chopped onions and cilantro.