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Braised Short Ribs

The photo is way out of focus – since I suddenly realized I’d forgotten to take one just as my guests were starting to dig in – but the ribs were really good!  I really like braising, especially as a method of cooking while entertaining, because once you get everything browned you basically forget about the dish for several hours.  And during that several hours your house will smell like heaven!  
The deep rich taste of these ribs paired well with the Amarone.  Both the meat and the wine exhibit complexities of taste and that works well together.  Even the veggies have that rich, beefy flavor, so all-in-all this was a winner on many levels!  

Braised Short Ribs

Short ribs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive Oil




Hot pepper

Red wine

Tomato paste

Beef stock


Bay leaves



Prepare short ribs by heavily salting and peppering them on two sides.  (Much of the seasoning will come off during the browning and braising process.)

When preparing the vegetables you want large pieces that will hold up during the long cooking time and you want flat surfaces so you can brown them more easily. 

Peel onions.  Cut stem ends flat.  Trim root but do not remove it.  Slice the onion in quarters or sixths cutting through the root so each section stays intact.  Peel the carrots.  Cut in 4’ lengths and then cut each length in half lengthwise.  Cut celery into 4” lengths and then cut each length in half or thirds lengthwise.  For mushrooms, if small leave whole, if large cut in half. 

Roughly chop 2 or 3 dried hot peppers such as a Thai Dragon or Cayenne. Break one garlic head into individual cloves.  Remove loose paper but it’s not necessary to peel each clove. 

Preheat oven to 325°. Heat oil in large ovenproof pan over medium to medium-high heat.  When oil is shimmering place ribs in pan taking care not to crowd them.  Brown on all sides.  Remove from pan and repeat with remaining ribs if necessary. 

If needed add a bit more oil to the pan.  Add vegetables (except mushrooms) flat sides down, taking care not to crowd the pan.  Add salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until bottoms are caramelized. Carefully turn over and allow to brown slightly on opposite side.  If necessary, remove vegetables as they are done and repeat with remaining vegetables. 

Once all vegetables are caramelized, return them to the pan.  Add garlic, hot pepper, red wine and 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste.  Place ribs on top of vegetables.  Add beef stock until liquid covers about 2/3 of the vegetables and meat.  Add bay leaves to the stock.  Place 2 or 3 large sprigs of rosemary and thyme on top of the beef. 

Cover the pan and bring to a boil.  Place in oven and bake for 3 hours.  Remove from the oven; add the mushrooms, pushing them into the liquid.  Return to the oven and cook an additional 30 minutes.  

Remove thyme and rosemary stems from meat.  Place meat in center of platter and surround with the vegetables taking care not to include the bay leaves and garlic.     

  1. Unknown permalink
    07-Mar-2006 11:51 am

    Hey Beep:

    Did you really use beef stock? And if so, did you make it or use something store-bought?

    I\’ve read lots of negative stuff about beef stock. Apparently, it\’s quite a chore to make. On the other hand, most of the store-bought options are less than stellar. Many Cook\’s Illustrated recipes simply swap it for chicken broth.

    Just wondering how you handled that ingredient.


  2. Culinary permalink
    08-Mar-2006 5:44 am

    Hi Sal,
    I did use stock but I didn\’t make it, I bought it.  I make chicken stock a lot because I generally have "leftover" stuff that makes that easy but I don\’t eat that much beef and when I do it doesn\’t normally come with leftover bones.  I\’m an opportunist and without an opportunity I pass.  I actually had this discussion with a couple of friends at the party since they have made their own stock but liked my ribs better than their\’s – we didn\’t compare entire recipes so I don\’t know what else may have been different. 
    I\’ve generally found that the store-bought stuff works okay – although I might feel differently if the stock was the focus in a soup – there are some really decent brands out there now.  I\’ve even had professional chefs (that I admire)  admit they think it\’s okay to use them – not that they necessarily do in their businesses but I have seen them use it in classes.  I think one of the keys is to find a brand that comes unsalted so that you can control the seasoning. 
    ~ B

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