Short ribs are fatty beef ribs, cut literally into short pieces. They sometimes referred to as flanken style, to differentiate them from spare ribs.
When short ribs are braised, the meat becomes soft, tender, and velvet-like.
Similar to pulled pork, the tender texture of prepared short ribs is why I love this cut of meat. Plus, you serve the meat with the accompanying red wine-based reduction that is rich and flavorful. Once prepared, these ribs pair perfectly with a potato mash, polenta, or risotto, for an extra-special meal.
I chose risotto for my “side,” and decided to make it green using spinach. The combination of short ribs and risotto is a meal you could have at an upscale restaurant, for which you would pay dearly! But short ribs are truly simple to make. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive – not what you’d think from the menu price!
Braised Short Ribs
Approximately 5 pounds of short ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
Flour, about 5 tablespoons
Olive oil for browning the ribs
2 onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef broth
1 bottle red wine
2-3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons paprika creme
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
Season the meat with the salt and pepper, then toss in the flour in a large bowl.
When you’re ready to start cooking, heat some oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, no more than four at a time. Turn the ribs with tongs and brown all sides.
Place the ribs in a large bowl and continue with the remaining short ribs. Add a little more oil if necessary, and make sure to bring the oil to high heat before the browning process.
Turn down the heat to medium, and add the chopped onion. Sauté the onion for a few minutes, stirring as necessary. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and stir until you smell the garlic.
Add the broth and wine and stir well. Bring the liquid to a soft boil, then reduce the heat and cook the liquid for at least 15 minutes.
Place the browned ribs in the liquid – ideally they are all submerged in the liquid.
Cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer for about two hours, occasionally moving around the ribs in the liquid.
After cooking, the sauce has reduced slightly, and the meat should be falling off of the ribs. Let everything cool slightly.
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the ribs in a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the Dutch oven from the refrigerator and remove the grease from the top of the sauce. There will be grease.
Warm the sauce a little on the stove, and then, using a hand immersion blender, blend the sauce to thicken it. If it’s still too thin, reduce for 30 minutes or so. Then blend in the paprika creme and tomato paste, and taste for saltiness.
Remove the rib meat from the bones, and place the meat in the sauce. Heat gently and slowly.
When the meat has heated through, serve the ribs with spinach risotto or your desired side dish(es).
For a bit less traditional dish of short ribs, add cumin to the spices and use a generous amount of ancho chile paste, and serve these short ribs over cheddar grits.
Or, add hoisin sauce and chili paste for a Chinese-inspired dish served with cellophane noodles or grilled vegetables!
Leftover short ribs are wonderful in quesadillas and sandwiches, so get creative with this luxurious meat!
As you can see, the short rib meat is tender, and smothered in the rich sauce. A perfect meal for a winter day.
For the accompanying risotto, I simply added chopped fresh spinach towards the end of the cooking time, before the grated Parmesan. I also used some white pepper, which is optional.