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Catalan-Style Braised Veal Ribs with Green Olives

Finding veal ribs isn't always easy, but they're so tender, they're worth the search. Because they're milder than beef ribs, the rich braising liquid here adds even more complexity while the nutty picada spooned in at the end imparts a sweet, earthy depth.


slideshow More Veal Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • 7 pounds veal ribs, trimmed, ribs cut between the bones
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 40 thyme sprigs
  • 25 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • One 28-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Spanish green olives
  • Catalan Picada


  1. In a large roasting pan, toss the ribs with 1/2 cup of the oil and the thyme and garlic. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Return the ribs to room temperature. Reserve the garlic; discard the thyme.
  2. Preheat the oven to 275°. In a very large, deep skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrot and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and rinse out and dry the skillet.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Season half of the veal ribs with salt and pepper, then dust with flour, tapping off any excess. Add the floured ribs to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to the roasting pan. Wipe out the skillet. Repeat with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and ribs.
  4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet, add the wine and cook over moderate heat until reduced to 2 cups, 7 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, stock, bay leaves, paprika and cayenne. Bring to a boil and pour over the ribs. Season generously with black pepper. Add the water. Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil and bring the ribs to a simmer over 2 burners. Carefully transfer the pan to the lower third of the oven and bake for 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Using a slotted spoon, arrange the ribs on a large baking sheet. Broil the ribs 8 inches from the heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the ribs to a platter and cover loosely with foil.
  6. Stir the olives and the Catalan Picada into the braising sauce. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners and boil the sauce over moderately high heat until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Pour the sauce over the ribs and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The affordable Granacha-based wines of the hilly Montsant region south of Barcelona emphasize all the flavors of this dish.

Contributed By Published October 2005

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