I’m going to go ahead and tell you right now that if you are looking for something to have for dinner on a week night after you’ve worked all day, then this recipe is not what you want. It’s not that it’s complicated or particularly difficult. Not at all. It is, however, a two-day process so it’s best for Sunday night dinner. Also, it’s not as bad as it seems fat-wise. Just hang in with me to the end and you’ll see.
If all that hasn’t completely put you off, then here’s what you need:
12 beef short ribs, bone-in
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 of a 750-ml bottle dry red wine (I used a zinfandel)
6 cups veal stock
Now, about the veal stock. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it on the shelf in my regular grocery store. I do know that you can get it from some upscale butcher shops, but since I don’t frequent upscale butcher shops, I have to make do with what I can get. Actually, a pretty acceptable substitute is to mix half beef stock and half chicken stock. That’s what I do, anyway.
Here’s what you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season ribs liberally with salt and pepper. Heal the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat. Make sure you use a large pan with a tight-fitting lid as this is the pan you will be using when you transfer everything to the oven.
Here’s what they look like when you turn them to brown the second side.
And here they are after you’ve browned all six sides.
You want to make sure you get those ribs really good and brown. This takes a while. Just be patient.
Set aside the browned ribs and add the mirepoix (a fancy French word for a mixture of onions, celery and carrots) and saute until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Now, I know this looks like a big, greasy mess right now. Keep hanging in with me. It gets better.
Remove the veggies with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Pour off as much fat as possible, but be sure to leave the fond (ah…another fancy French word for the burnt, browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Whadaya know. I’ve been doing fancy French cooking all my life and just didn’t know it) in the pan. Add the wine and stir to dislodge any browned stuff left on the bottom. Continue cooking until the wine is reduced by about 3/4 and is slightly thick and syrupy. This takes about 15 minutes.
Put the ribs back in the pan, add the veggies, faux veal stock and enough water to cover the ribs. Bring all to a boil.
Cover the pan with foil, put the lid on and place in the oven. Covering with foil keeps all the cooking liquids in the pot. Nothing escapes as steam and this ensures even, thorough cooking which tenderizes the beef. Cook until ribs are fork-tender, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
The photo above is after 2 1/2 hours in the oven. Allow the ribs to cool in the cooking liquid, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the excess fat that has solidified at the top of the pan overnight. See I told you it got better. Almost all the fat rises overnight and you skim it all away before you finish the dish. Well, okay, short ribs are not the leanest cut and there’s some fat still in there, but at least you got rid of a huge hunk of it this way.
Place the pan with the ribs and cooking liquid over medium heat, uncovered. Cook until the liquid has reduced by three-fourths, about 1 1/2 hours. While cooking, occasionally spoon the sauce over the ribs to keep them moist. The sauce should be thick and the ribs glazed. Be careful near the end of cooking not to burn the glaze. Also, move the ribs around occasionally to prevent them from burning on the bottom.
Serve with horseradish mashed potatoes. Makes 6 servings.
Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Make your regular recipe for mashed potatoes. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 tblsp horseradish (or more according to your taste).
I know after reading through this recipe, most people are going to decide that this is absolutely too much work for some tough, cheap cut of meat like short ribs. Let me tell you, if you’ve never had short ribs this way, you should give it a try once in your life. In my opinion, this is dinner party worthy. Also, don’t waste the other half of that bottle of wine. Serve it with dinner or make some pears poached in wine.
Download a printable copy of this recipe here.