Braised Short Ribs with Dried Cherries

¼ c extra virgin olive oil
16 2-inch long pieces of beef short ribs (about 5 lbs)
Salt and pepper
1½ c Rhone or Cabernet Sauvignon red wine
¼ c all purpose flour
1 quart chicken stock (or even better, half veal, half chicken)
1½ t. salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled
8 large shallots, peeled
1¼ c dried sour cherries

Preheat oven to 325°. In a large enamel casserole, heat the oil and brown ribs in batches (don’t overcrowd the pan) over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Set ribs aside and season with salt and pepper. Pour out excess oil from the casserole, add the wine and deglaze the pan over high heat, scraping up all the browned bits with a wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine to ¾ c.

Stir in the flour to make a paste. Gradually add the stock and whisk until smooth. Return to the ribs to the pot with any accumulated juices. Place a piece of parchment paper and an inverted lid of foil over the ribs (pressing down to cover completely), cover the pot, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Remove the lid, foil, and paper, then add 1 ½ t. of salt, garlic, and shallots. Recover and cook an additional hour. Once again, remove the lid/foil/paper, add the cherries, partially cover, and simmer over low heat until the ribs are very tender and a skewer inserted in the meat comes out without any resistance.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the ribs, shallots, garlic, and cherries to a plate. Strain the cooking juices into a large heat resistant measuring cup. Let set. Within 5-10 minutes, the fat will have come to the top and separated from the liquid. With a bulb baster, squeeze the bulb, keeping it closed. Siphon off only the cooking liquid at the bottom of the measuring cup, leaving the fat behind and return the defatted juices to the casserole. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Return the ribs, garlic, shallots, and cherries to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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