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Braised Beef with Chocolate and Rosemary

We had some friends visiting for gaming so it was a good excuse to try something more elaborate.

Okay, that's a lie.

I was going to try it anyway, so we insisted they stay for dinner to help taste-test the recipe and so we wouldn't have too many leftovers.  :-)  General reaction was very positive, though I think I cooked it too long.  The recipes I've done for beef shanks say 2 hours but I found 4-6 hours worked better.  But here the beef fell apart too much. 

The original recipe:

As prepared:

1/4 lb. bacon (4 oz.), diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3-1/2 lb. beef short ribs (on bone)
3 lb. boneless beef spareribs
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large ribs of celery, finely chopped
about 1/2 of a 10 oz. bag of shredded peeled carrots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
28-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped further
1/4 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
5 Tablespoons grated very dark chocolate (Lindt 85% cacao)
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

This takes about an hour to prepare, plus the oven cooking time.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large (at least 6 qt.) casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil and saute bacon till crisp.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon or spatula and reserve till later.  Season beef with salt & pepper and brown in the drippings over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes for each batch, transferring to plate when each is done.  Do not crowd.  When the meat h as been browned, pour off extra fat, and to the remaining add the onions, celery, and carrots.  Saute over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring up browned bits.  Add the garlic and saute about 5 minutes more.  Add wine and chicken broth and turn up heat to boil for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and bacon, and stir together.  Return beef to pot, cover, and put in the oven for about 2 hours.  Remove cover and return to oven for about 1 to 2 hours more.  Pick out bay leaves and discard.  Spoon off fat from surface.  (At this point, you could refrigerate it till the next day, which would make it much easier to remove the fat, then reheat slowly.)   Stir in chocolate and rosemary.  (If beef is very tender but still in large chunks, you may want to remove it first, and then return to the pot after stirring.  Otherwise it will disintegrate to shreds, which are still very tasty.  Depends on the desired presentation.)   Serve over egg noodles or as you wish.   Serves 8 generously.