If you have the time, this is a wonderful weekend dish for entertaining. It takes several hours, and there aren’t any short cuts you can take to cook the meat, but the majority of the time is hands-off and the results are well worth the effort. Short ribs are economical for entertaining (in NYC I paid $35 for 4 lbs.) and, when cooked well, are rich in flavorful and extraordinarily tender.
I like to make the meat with enough time to refrigerate the sauce so I can skim the excess fat before reheating, but it’s not an essential step if you’re short on time.
Serve this over any type of mashed potatoes. I made a mix of mashed apples and potatoes (cooked in apple cider) for a seasonal twist and the flavors married well. I also served it with a side of shaved fennel and green apple salad and the crispness of the salad was a nice contrast to the rich meat and potatoes. The only thing missing from the meal was a punch of color; the meat, potatoes and fennel were a bit bland to look at. Chopped parsley as a garnish added a bit of color, but it wasn’t as visually appealing as I would have liked. Mashed sweet potatoes or roasted beets would have added some color to the dish so I may try one of those additions to the meal next time.
This recipe is based on the basic recipe for braised short ribs in Simple to Spectacular by Jean-Georges and Mark Bittman.
Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine
2 Tbs. canola or olive oil
3 Tbs. butter
4 lbs. short ribs
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 bottle sturdy red wine, such as Zinfandel
4 branches thyme
4 stems parsley
1 bay leaf
½ cup chopped parsley, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Add tablespoon of oil and butter to cast iron pot or covered roasting dish and melt over high heat. Add ribs and brown well on all sides, seasoning meat with salt and pepper as it cooks (about 20 minutes total). Work in batches if necessary [I browned the meat in 2 batches in a large cast iron pot]. Remove meat from, pour out fat and wipe pan clean.
2. Add remaining tablespoon oil and another tablespoon butter to pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until the onions are soft (about 8 minutes). Add red wine, thyme, parsley stems and bay leaf and bring to boil. Add ribs, cover, and cook in oven until meat is very tender and falling from bone, about 3 hours. Turn the meat once or twice an hour.
3. Transfer ribs to a platter. Strain liquid from vegetables in a medium bowl, pressing hard on vegetables to extract all of the liquid. Refrigerate liquid separate from ribs and, once chilled, skim fat from sauce (there will be a tick layer that is easy to remove with a spoon, leaving a silky sauce below).
4. To reheat: Add sauce to pan and bring to boil. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter and whisk until slightly thickened. Add ribs and ¼ cup chopped parsley. Heat ribs through, add salt and pepper to taste, and additional red wine if necessary (about ¼ cup at a time), and serve garnished with remaining chopped parsley.