In the Spirit is sponsored by Strack & Van Til in Munster, Indiana.
If you’re a fan of rich, long-simmered dishes on cold winter nights, this recipe is for you. Bone-in beef short ribs are a luxurious cut of meat that require a long time to cook, and trust me, all that time is worth it. A long, slow cook breaks down the short ribs’ fat and connective tissue, resulting in tender meat and a delicious sauce.
Tremendous depth of flavor is achieved by searing and caramelizing the exterior of the ribs. Take your time during this step. Allow each side of the short ribs to sear to a deep golden brown. This will create a flavorful crust and help to render some of the fat and create what is called “fond,” the brown bits that collect on the bottom of a pan when you cook meat at a relatively high heat. There is a lot of flavor in that fond, and when you add in the shallots and the other aromatics, the fond will release from the pan and mingle with those other ingredients.
After you’ve sauteed the veggies, you’ll add in some tomato paste, stirring to caramelize the sugars and heighten the richness of the tomato flavor. From there, all you have to do is deglaze with wine, add in some beef broth (splurge for the good stuff if you can) and tie a handful of herbs together in a bouquet garni. The short ribs should be added back to the pot with the bones pointing up and down. Use a Dutch oven that allows the ribs to just barely touch and hold each other up during the two-hour braising time.
Speaking of braising, this technique is uniquely suited to cooking cuts of meat like short ribs. It’s not roasting, which is a dry-heat technique, and it’s not simmering, where the meat would be submerged in liquid. This is a hybrid of the two, with the braising liquid ideally reaching half-way up the meat. This will produce fall-off-the-bone results and an incredibly complex, rich sauce.
The last step in this recipe is to remove the ribs from the cooking liquid and put the pot back on the stove, bringing the sauce up to a simmer. You want to skim off the fat, which will rise to the top. Once you’ve removed that excess, the resulting sauce will be silky, rather than fatty.
Serve this soul-warming dish overtop buttered noodles and alongside a glass of hearty red wine. Leftovers keep well and reheat beautifully.
Emmy-winning host Cat Neville is the publisher of Feast Magazine and the producer of tasteMAKERS, which airs nationally on PBS. She has been in food media for about 20 years and when she’s not on the road, she can usually be found playing around with new flavors in her St. Louis kitchen.
Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Recipe by Catherine Neville
Yield: 4 servings
- 5 lbs bone-in beef short ribs (about 2.5 to 3 lbs meat)
- salt and pepper
- grapeseed oil
- 5 shallots, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled, large dice
- 2 stalks celery, large dice
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ bottle dry red wine
- 2 to 3 cups beef broth
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 4 leaves sage
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half
| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper short ribs. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil until shimmering and then brown the short ribs on all sides, working in batches to avoid crowding the pan. As the short ribs are finished, remove them to a plate.
Once short ribs are all nicely browned, add shallots, carrots and celery to the pot and sauté until tender, then add tomato paste, stirring until the tomato is caramelized. Deglaze pot with wine, stirring to get up any remaining fond (the brown bits with tons of flavor that are stuck on the bottom of the pot) and then stir in beef broth. Add in short ribs (along with any accumulated juices) and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a strong simmer.
Tie rosemary, sage, parsley and thyme together with kitchen twine to make a bouquet garni and add to pot along with bay leaves and garlic. Allow short ribs to simmer for 5 minutes or so, then bring the heat back up to a boil, put on the lid and place the pot in the oven. Braise short ribs for about 2 hours, removing the lid about half-way through, until the meat is tender and falling off of the bones.
Spoon the short ribs onto a platter. Remove bay leaves and bouquet garni from the pot and fish out the garlic. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Squeeze the garlic into the sauce and stir to incorporate. Skim fat off of the surface of the sauce and serve the ribs with sauce spooned over top as well as more on the side, along with buttered noodles.