Came across this great recipe for braised short ribs – you have to try this.  I’ve tried others but they just had an overpowering tomato taste or smoky taste (neither of which I have an objection to in moderation).  It does take a while to make, but one of those things you can start, put in the oven with the timer on (every 60 minutes) for the first couple of hours then another 30 minutes – the end result, well lets just say I will be your new best friend, your family will love you, and I’m thinking world peace might just be in order.  I might even add it to my menu of home cooked meals.  Total cooking time for this recipe – mise en place to presentation – 3 hours and 15 minutes, did I say it was well worth the effort.  Pictures below of the ribs browning, the vegetables cooking and the finished product.

9 bone-in short ribs (about 3 – 4 pounds)
Sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, rough chop
2 ribs celery, rough chop
2 carrots, peeled, rough chop
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tin tomato paste (156 ml – standard size)
2 to 3 cups of a good drinking red wine (I used a Malbec, plus a glass for yourself)
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay the ribs on the cutting board and season all sides with salt.  In a heavy bottomed pot (large enough to hold all the ribs in a single layer) on medium high heat, heat some olive oil.  When hot add the ribs to the pan (you should hear the sizzle when you add the meat – fat side down – no sizzle – not ready).  TIP: count to 10 before adding the next piece – this will give your pan and oil enough chance to reheat to the desired temperature.  Chef Josh used to say, when it is done, the meat will come away from the pan easily – so be patient.  Do not overcrowd the pan, you want to sear – not stew, the meat.

While the short ribs are browning, pulse all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, add a bit more olive oil and when hot, add the pulsed vegetables. Season the vegetables with salt – taste and re-season, and continue to cook.  With any pulsed vegetable, when you use this method of cooking, a surface will form on the bottom of the pan as it cooks – it’s all good, scrape it up and back into the vegetables.  If it is hard to get off, use a little water to loosen.  I find a hard plastic spatula works well for scraping the bottom of the pan.  Do this process one more time to allow the vegetable mixture to cook.  

Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and cook this for about 1 – 2 minutes.  If it starts to burn too fast, reduce your heat.  If the bottom of the pan is coated and you can’t get it off with a wooden spoon, just add a bit of water and stir.  Reduce the heat or remove the pot from the heat – you don’t want the wine to evaporate, just the alcohol – and add the wine continuing to scrape the bottom of the pan. Allow this mixture to reduce and thicken – taste and season and taste the mixture.  

Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat.

Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 2.5 hours. At 60 minutes (set a timer) remove from the oven and turn the ribs over – add water if you need to – taste the sauce, season and taste again – note I didn’t have to add water at this stage, cover and return to the oven.   After another 60 minutes – set the timer, remove from the oven and check for doneness and add water if you need to – I needed about a cup of water at this stage.  Taste, season and taste, cover and return to the oven.  You should need about another 30 minutes in the oven for the ribs to be perfectly “on the bone” tender.  If you are nervous about this step, check every 30 minutes after the first hour, but a good heavy pot – Le Creuset, Kitchen Aid etc. should protect the meat and allow the liquid to turn into a sauce. 

As always – enjoy! (Pictures below – Ribs being caramelized; Vegetable Mash being cooked; Ribs to Go!)

In the Pan

Pureed Vegetables in the Pan

Bone Tender Ribs - Done

Bone Tender Ribs – It’s Dinner Time!

 braised ribs