Beef short ribs are something I never grew up eating, but in the last several years have grown to truly enjoy. When cooked low and slow in a wonderful, herbed sauce they become these unctuous, fall off the bone, shredded morsels of tenderness. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried pork short ribs, but the beef are usually more tender and bigger. Braising them is the key to a successful dining experience.
Here is my version of savory, braised shorts ribs. Not in your typical tomato based, red wine sauce, but in a white wine and herbed sauce that starts with a mirepoix and red potatoes. A mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. So let’s get that started with the addition of some crushed garlic. Who doesn’t love garlic?
I like to liberally season the chunky beef short rib portions with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper on all sides. Seasoning is key and so is the next step.
Browning these in a hot cast iron skillet on all sides in bacon fat is my way to do it right. As chef Anne Burrell says, “brown food tastes great” and I couldn’t agree more. Getting the crispy edges all cooked down and caramelized is imperative here and the bacon fat adds another dimension to the flavor profile.
Make sure you turn them over on all sides to sear in the juices and caramelize the outsides of all the beef short ribs. Don’t overcrowd the pan either if doubling the recipe for larger crowds. After these are browned, remove from the skillet and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the browned bits and turn off the heat. Leave until after the mirepoix is cooked next.
In a large Dutch oven or casserole pan, one that can go from stove top to oven, add the bacon fat or olive oil. On medium heat sauté the mirepoix of carrots, celery and onion and add the thyme and bay leaves. Cook this for several minutes and season with kosher salt and red pepper flakes.
I like the little kick on the back of my tongue with dishes like this that have so many flavors going on and at the end is the lovely pepper note. You will want to sprinkle the flour over the sautéing vegetables at this point and stir to incorporate. Cook the flour for several minutes as this will be the basis of making the roux that will thicken the sauce as it braises in the oven.
Add the deglazed short rib pan drippings that you added the white wine to and pour over the vegetables. Add the water and stir to mix and it should slightly thicken already. Stir in the red potatoes and nestle the browned short ribs in between the vegetables, making sure that the liquid is just covering the beef short ribs. Add some more water if needed to cover all. Cover with the lid and place the Dutch oven or casserole dish in the oven to bake for 3 hours.
If the sauce is too thin, remove the short ribs and keep warm. Cook the sauce and vegetables down for several minutes to thick and condense the sauce.
Remove the little bones if you want or serve intact. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed and plate the beef short ribs with the vegetables and sauce poured on top and garnish with chopped parsley.
What comes out of that oven is a beautifully seasoned and flavorful braised beef short rib dish with soft tender carrots and potatoes all in a wonderful sauce.
These are simply amazing and the rich, deep beef flavor that has concentrated is wonderful. The well herbed sauce with hints of the bacon and heat from the red pepper flakes makes for a delicious sauce napped over the tender, fall off the bone beef short ribs.
- 4- 4" short ribs
- 4 tbsp bacon fat or oil, separated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ bunch thyme, or 2 tsp dried
- 3 sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped
- 4 cloves crushed garlic
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup water (plus to cover)
- 6 medium red potatoes
- parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350˚.
- In a cast iron skillet, add the 3 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil and melt completely. Add the short ribs and brown completely on all sides. Drain on a paper towel, salt and pepper and let rest as the next stage is prepared.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine, scrapping up the little browned bits. Turn off the heat and leave until next step. Set aside.
- In a Dutch oven add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and add the mirepoix. Let sweat for a few minutes and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Next add the flour and stir to cook out the flour as a roux base for the sauce.
- Next, add the water and stir to incorporate completely. Add the deglazed white wine drippings from the cast iron skillet. Finally add the bay leaves, oregano and wrapping the thyme into a bundle, toss in the pot. Use 2 teaspoons of dried thyme if fresh is not available.
- Next place each short rib in the pot, nestled in between the vegetables. Push them down and make sure there is enough liquid to cover. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Place the pot into the oven and bake for 3 hours.
- Remove the braised short ribs from the vegetable mixture and keep warm. Let the mixture cook down, lid removed, for 10 minutes to condense the sauce if needed. Plate ribs and pour vegetables and sauce mixture over and enjoy!