Braised short ribs were all the rage a few years ago. They kept popping up on menu after stylish menu. I like them because of their inherent fabulousness, not because they are (or were) stylish or hip. If you knew me you’d know that I’m not much of a crowd follower anyway. I asked my friend Chef Anne to make me her braised short ribs recently. Let me tell you – that Anne – she does a mean short rib. As you might well imagine, you need to start these a day ahead, so they aren’t for the last minute planners amongst you. If you can get yourself pulled together a day ahead, this is one of the best dinner party pleasers I’ve had in a long time.
Chef Anne’s Braised Short Ribs (six servings)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 6 short ribs with or without bones, cut 2-inches thick (about 4 pounds) or 4 pounds chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
- salt and pepper
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 6-oz shitake mushrooms, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bottle dry red wine
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups chicken or beef stock
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Add them to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and crusty, about 18 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a shallow baking dish in a single layer.
Add the onion and the carrots to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook five minutes, then add garlic, cook 2 more minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the hot marinade over the ribs and let cool. Cover and refrigerate over night, turning the ribs once.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Transfer the ribs and marinade to a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the bay leaf and the stock and bring to a boil. Once the broth has come to a full boil cover the pot and move it to the oven. Cook it covered for 2 hours until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Uncover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, turning the ribs once or twice, until the sauce is reduced by about half and the meat is very tender.
Transfer the meat to a clean shallow baking dish, discarding the bones as they fall off. Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf. Cover the dish with foil. Check the broth for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. The sauce can be further reduced or thickened if desired. To reduce bring the sauce back to a boil on the stovetop. Boil it for as long as desired. Serve the meat over mashed potatoes, rice or polenta. Spoon sauce over the top.