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Dining Tip: Beet and Braised Beef Soup

This New York chef's recipe will warm a cold late-winter night

Posted: March 4, 2013

Recipe courtesy of Chef Peter Hoffman, Back Forty and Back Forty West, NY

• 3 pounds short ribs (you may substitute the same amount of second-cut brisket, known as the deckle, cut into 4- to 6-ounce chunks)
• Kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon coriander seed
• 1 tablespoon anise seed
• 1/4 chipotle pepper, dried or canned
• 6 beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
• 1 pound string beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
• 4 carrots, peeled and cut into thick rounds
• 1 bunch dill, roughly chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, finely cut
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
• Red wine vinegar to taste

1. Salt the meat (ideally overnight or at least for a few hours). Note: If you have purchased meat from a kosher butcher, it will not be necessary to salt the meat ahead of time; simply season with salt just before cooking.

2. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add the ribs to the pan and cook on all sides until browned. Remove the ribs from the pot, reserving on a large plate, and add the onions and garlic to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions and garlic are browned, about 10 minutes.

3. While the onions and garlic cook, create a small sachet out of cheesecloth (or use a refillable tea bag or metal tea ball) and fill it with the peppercorns, coriander and anise seeds and the chipotle pepper. Once the onions and garlic are nicely browned, return the meat and its juices back to the pot with the sachet, cover with water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes.

3. Add the beets (and water to cover them if necessary) and cook for 30 minutes more. Add the beans, carrots and more water to generously cover all the vegetables. Simmer for 30 minutes more, or until the vegetables are cooked. Add some of the dill, reserving the rest for garnishing. Separate the meat from the bones (discarding the latter) and return it to the pot. (If the meat doesn't pull away easily, cut it into chunks and put them back into the soup to cook longer.) Season with salt and pepper and a splash or two of vinegar. Garnish with dill and scallions at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

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