Braised Short Ribs with Tuscan Herbs

A friend of mine, who is a talented cook in his own right commented that I need something with “more fat” on my front page…too many vegetables in his opinion. I thought this dish would please him…lots of meat…rich sauce….nice spices.

What I really like about braised short ribs is that most of the work is done in the oven. There is some chopping to do on the front end, but it is the slow heat breaking down the collagen that gives these dishes their beautiful taste and texture.

Braised Short Ribs with Tuscan Herbs (or “congrats on your new job, sis” ribs)
Served with Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Roasted Beets with Honey & Thyme

  • 3-4 lb of beef short ribs
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, washed and diced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp oregano, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 c. + 1/2 c. red wine
  • 1 1/3 c. beef stock
  • 2/3 water
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1) Take your ribs out of the fridge and let them rest on the counter for about 20 minutes so they come to room temperature. Pat them dry and season liberally with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2) Heat up 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil in a dutch oven (or other oven proof pot) that will ultimately be large enough to hold all of your ribs. Brown your ribs on all sides. The trick to this is to do it in small batches…if you crowd the pot, you will lose out on the caramelized crust that forms on the outside (yummy). Once you have browned all the ribs, store them on a plate and set aside.

3) Make sure there is enough oil in the bottom of your pot to handle all of your veggies…there should be about 3 cups, give or take. Add the veggies and let them cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently. You want them to soften, not to brown.

4) Add the garlic and herbs and cook for another few minutes. Now add the tomato paste and give everything a good stir so it evenly distributed. When that has cooked for a few minutes, get ready to “deglaze” your pot.

5) Add 1/2 c. of wine and allow it to boil for a minute or so, stirring so you get all of those beautiful brown bits of ribs and veggies that have stuck to the bottom of your pot. Things will be smelling very, very good by now.

6) Return the ribs and any juices that have collected on the bottom of the plate to your dutch oven. Now add the braising liquid…the red wine (2 c.), beef stock (1 1/3 c.) and water (2/3 c.) and hope it all fits. Bring this to a boil and get ready to pop it in the oven.

7) If you would like, you can create sort of a dam out of parchment paper that will lock in the steam and moisture and therefore give you ribs that are even more tender. I take a piece of parchment paper and cut it out in the shape of my pot but about an inch or two larger in circumference. I then crinkle it up (the wrinkles give the condensation some place to collect) and then smooth it back out. I pop it on top of the pot and put the lid on. This really does help but it is not essential if you have no parchment paper on hand or you just can’t be bothered.

8) Pop the whole thing in the oven and cook for about 2 1/2 hours, giving it a stir two or three times throughout. You will know they are done when they are falling off the bone. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and get ready to make the sauce, if you so choose.

Now here’s where you have a choice. As the ribs stand right now, they are fantastic! You can set the table and serve them up right now….or….you can take an extra 10 minutes and jazz up the sauce. If you opt for the jazzy sauce, read on. If you are on your way to the table already…enjoy!

9) Remove the ribs from the pot and set them aside, tenting them with foil if you wish. Be sure to fish out all the bones and return the pot to your stovetop. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.

10) Make a paste of the flour and butter and whisk it in to the sauce. You will notice it will start to thicken. Keep whisking for another 5 minutes or so, until it has reduced by about 1/3 (or until you get sick of standing at the stove). Stir in the balsamic vinegar and remove from heat.

11) Shred the meat from the ribs into nice pieces and return to the pot. Serve it up nice and hot.



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