Short Ribs in Cinnamon Red Wine Sauce

Smell the cinnamon bark. If it's very strong, break the bark in 1/2 and only use half. If it's not strong enough, add half bark. Smell for the cinnamon throughout the cooking process. You should smell a mild cinnamon flavor instead of a strong one. If cinnamon is the only spice you smell, take out the bark and continue cooking the curry. If at any time the onions or tomato spice mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pan or looks like it’s about to burn, either lower the heat or add 1 tablespoon of oil or ghee. Do not add water. This is meant to be a rich curry.

6 large beef short ribs, bone in with excess fat trimmed off
1/4 cup grape seed or canola oil (60 ml)
2 Tbs. ghee (30 ml)
1 large onion, very finely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
1 heaping Tbs. finely chopped garlic (5 ml)
1 cup ground fresh tomatoes (250 ml)
1/2 cup red wine (250 ml)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock with the fat skimmed off (1 litre)
1 Tbs. cumin seeds (15 ml)
1 whole piece cinnamon bark (approximately 3-inches long)
1/2 heaping tsp. ground fenugreek seeds (2 ml)
1 heaping Tbs. cumin powder (15 ml)
1/2 tsp. turmeric (2 ml)
1/2 tsp. ground red cayenne pepper (2 ml)
1 heaping Tbs. Mexican chile powder (2 ml)

In a large, heavy saucepan with fitted lid, melt the ghee on medium to high heat. Add the cooking oil and the cumin seeds. Let the seeds sizzle for 30 seconds and add the cinnamon bark and onions. Sauté until the onions are medium brown in color. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until garlic is golden brown and onions are a darker brown. The darker you sauté the onions without letting them burn, the richer the onion flavor will be in this dish.

Temporarily lower the heat and add the tomatoes and all of the remaining spices. Once you stir the powdered spices in the tomatoes, increase the heat back to medium. Stir regularly and continue cooking the spices until the oil/ghee separates from the tomatoes. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the stock and red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the oil/ghee separates from the stock and rises to the top, stirring occasionally.

Add the short ribs and stir well. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer the short ribs until the meat completely separates from the bone. This will take approximately 4 hours and you will need to stir occasionally.

Source of recipe: Vij’s Restaurant, Vancouver, B.C.