Recipe courtesy of Eat Like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need by Ryan D'Agostino (Chronicle Books)
I grew up on the bayou never strayed far because New Orleans has always been, and still is, a hell of a place to cook. Food has more cultural significance here. No matter where in the world early settlers came from—Italy, Spain, Senegal, Haiti—and whether free or enslaved, they assimilated into the Creole culture, embracing everything from language to cooking. That’s why dishes like gumbo and jambalaya have so many ingredients—every culture stirred a bit into the pot. I try to deliver some of that complexity in this one-pot meal while keeping the ingredient list short by using a reduction of naturally spicy Zinfandel with a touch of sugar, a combo that adds backbone and works wonders with the fattiness of the meat. There was a time when you couldn’t give short ribs away in American restaurants. It was fillet of beef this and lobster that. But as we’ve grown more comfortable—culinarily speaking—we’ve begun to identify with peasant-style cooking, the kind of food our grandparents might have made. This is one of those dishes. The ribs come from the chuck section, where the meat contains a lot of connective tissue and needs slow, moist cooking.
JOHN BESH, Restaurant August, New Orleans
Tip: Ribs cut flanken style (across the bone) are easier to deal with than those cut English style (parallel to the bone), but are slightly more fatty.