Braising is the perfect cooking method for cold winter days. It’s a technique that involves searing meat in oil, adding a small amount of liquid and cooking in a covered vessel at a lower temperature for a long period of time. Tough cuts of meat become tender and juicy and a rich sauce develops. Although preparing a slow cooked braise requires some planning ahead and prep work, once it’s in the oven you can sit back and relax for a few hours. This dish is ideal for entertaining because it tastes even better the next day. Just reheat and serve with your favourite side dishes.
This recipe has been adapted from the short rib recipe at Balthazar restaurant in New York City. It’s a French brasserie serving up such classics as steak frites and mussels. The ribs pair well with mashed potatoes and sautéed winter greens such as swiss chard.
The secret to success with this dish is to use the meatiest short ribs you can find. If you can’t find ones that are large and marbled with fat, increase the number of ribs used and reduce the cooking time slightly. The recipe makes enough for 4 but it can easily be doubled. Plus, it’s so delicious, you’ll probably want to have some leftovers to enjoy!
Some great side dishes that pair well with the ribs:
Braised Short Ribs
Makes 4 servings – can easily be doubled
- 2-1/2 lbs. (about 1 kg) beef shortribs – about 2 to 3 large meaty ribs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil such as canola or safflower
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup port
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 cups beef stock
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut each long rib in half and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- In an enameled cast iron pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add the ribs to the pot and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove from pot and set aside.
- Add carrots, onion, shallot, celery and garlic to the pot and sauté until softened and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
- Stir tomato paste into vegetable mix. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add wine, port and herbs. Turn heat to medium-high and simmer for about 10 minutes, until mixture begins to reduce. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
- Add stock and return ribs to pot. Cover tightly and put in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, checking on them each hour to ensure nothing is burning at the bottom of the pot. The meat should be very tender.
- Once the ribs are done, use tongs to remove the ribs from the sauce. Place meat in a bowl and set aside. With a mesh strainer or cheesecloth-lined colander, strain sauce into a saucepan, pressing on solids to extract all liquid. Discard solids.
- Bring strained sauce to a boil and reduce for about 10 minutes. Pour sauce over ribs and serve.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!