A handful of months back Mark and I discovered a gem of a butcher shop tucked back into a drab and unassuming strip mall next to an RV sales lot. Upon entering for the first time we were absolutely dazzled by a long counter full of fresh and stunningly marbled steaks, beautifully displayed pork chops and chicken, hulking roasts, and a variety of brats and sausages among many, many other selections. That day, I believe, we purchased two thick filets, and left behind a trail of finger and nose prints on the glass case.
We have since returned to Butcher Bob’s many times, and never without the same feeling of glee when we walk through the door. The last time we ventured out that way was to get a few pounds of country-style ribs for Christmas dinner. But standing there waiting for them to be wrapped up in white parchment paper, I could no longer resist the call of the succulent short ribs, so those were wrapped up and brought home as well.
A quick flip through our binder of recipes later, we decided that both the weather (which was finally below 70!) and the early sunsets were calling for a good soup. I had a great recipe with mushrooms and prime rib that was based off a widely popular soup at Harrigan’s in Lubbock, TX. It has always been a crowd pleaser, but it occurred to me that the short rib, with it’s slightly meatier taste and propensity for tenderness under a slow cook, might elevate the family favorite even further.
I get a little smug when I am right.
This soup is exceedingly simple, but it does require time. It needs to sit at a simmer on the stove – filling up the house with the deliciously heady aromas of beef and mushroom – for two to three hours. In the simmering broth, the collagen ribbons throughout the short ribs will melt away and the reward for your patience is a hearty stew-like soup with the most tender mouthfuls of beef and a lightly creamy and complex broth that warms you down to your little toe. I also recommend a nice crusty bread for dipping, sopping and general winter-time bliss.
- 2 lbs Short Ribs
- 2 T Extra Light Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion, diced
- 3 C Crimini Mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- 4 C Beef Broth
- ½ C Heavy Cream
- ½ C Sour Cream
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 T Dried Thyme
- 1 T Brandy
- Remove fat cap (tough layer of fat on one side) from the short ribs.
- Slice short ribs into ½” cubes.
- Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed, non-teflon-coated (roughly 6 qt) pot. Brown the beef and remove to a plate with paper towels to drain off the excess oil.
- Wipe excess oil out of the pot and replace on the stove.
- Add onions, mushrooms, garlic, beef and broth and bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, reduce heat, add the bay leaf and thyme and let simmer for two to three hours or until beef is extremely tender and mushrooms and onions are cooked through (Adding water to broth if necessary to keep all ingredients covered).
- Stir in heavy cream and sour cream and let simmer for another 10 to 20 minutes.
- Salt and pepper soup to taste. Add the brandy ½ T at a time to taste.