Macheesmo

Cooking with Confidence
Good stuff.
Beef, Economical, Main Dishes

Short Ribs. Long Time.

by Nick

A friend of mine, Ross, helped me with some of the design for Macheesmo (namely, the awesome banner.) You can check out his work here, here, and his comic here! The least I could do is reciprocate with some delicious food. Given that it is Fall, I thought it would be a great time to make some braised beef short ribs!

A very quick note on photos before we dive in. This was one of the hardest things to photograph that I’ve cooked in my brief photo-culinary career. Turns out it is hard to make large pots of brown liquid look appetizing. I did my best. Be gentle.

Good stuff.

There are a few different variations on short ribs but all of them are basically the same: Brown the ribs. Cook them for a really long time. The recipe that I tried to follow can be found over at Simply Recipes. Notice that I said tried to follow.

Yield
Serves 6.
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds beef short ribs, cut into segments
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • Salt and pepper

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a large sturdy pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ribs in batches and sear really nicely on all sides.

2) When ribs are well-browned, remove from pot. Add chopped veggies in the same pot. Before you cook them, pour out a bit of the excess oil from the ribs. You don't need all that oil just for veggies. Cook them for five minutes stirring. Add some salt and pepper.

3) Add the entire bottle of wine to the pot and let it reduce by about half. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those bits of rib.

4) Then add your ribs back to the pot and pour in all your stock and/or water until the ribs are covered completely.

5) Stick the pot in a 350 degree F. oven until the meat is extremely tender. For me this was about three hours. You can't really overcook these so error on the side of longer if you are worried.

6)Now let this cool for at least an hour and then stick it into the fridge - covered. Leave it in there overnight to let the ribs really marinate in that wonderful stock.

7) When you pull the ribs out the next day there will be a pretty thick layer of fat on the top. You want to skim off as much as possible. It will be hardened which will make it easier. I actually just poured my sauce through a strainer quickly to get rid of both the fat and the veggies.

8) To finish the dish, Bring sauce to a simmer on the stove and simmer for about an hour to reduce. Add ribs back in and let them glaze a bit in the pot.

Serve the ribs over egg noodles or with polenta!

This was just one of those times in the kitchen where stuff went wrong, but that is part of the fun with cooking – pushing that line to find out how much you can screw up and still make a very delicious meal. Anyway, more on that later.

For this recipe you are obviously going to need short ribs. I got about 4 pounds of ribs and that was enough to feed 3 and also have 2 or 3 full left over meals.

Not vegetarian approved.

Not vegetarian approved.

Let’s talk about the first thing I screwed up on this recipe. Turns out short ribs are not actually short. They are about 10 inches long. I guess when I have bought them before they were always pre-cut into shorter segments which is what you want. So if you get them from the butcher, like I did, and the butcher asked you, “Hey guy, you want me to cut these up for you?” The answer should always be: YES.

I did not give this answer because I didn’t quite understand that by “cut” he meant “saw”. This meant that I had to chop each long rib into 2 when I got home. Let’s just leave it at this: It was an experience. One that I have no desire to repeat.

Anyway, before I got Charles Manson on them, I browned them in a large pot. I used about 1/4 of a cup of olive oil and got it blazing hot before adding the ribs. Do it in batches if you have to. You don’t want to crowd them or they won’t brown nicely. They will just kind of… tan.

Brown these bad boys on all sides.

Brown these bad boys on all sides.

So now take all of your ribs out of the pot. You now have medium rare short ribs! Feel free to try them now although I don’t recommend it.

Now you want to brown all of your veggies in the same pot. Before you cook them, pour out a bit of the excess oil from the ribs. You don’t need all that oil just for veggies. Cook them for five minutes stirring. Add some salt and pepper.

This is where I committed my second mistake for this recipe. I realized at this point that I did not have an onion. Generally, this is a big mistake because onion adds tons of depth to your sauce. I had no choice but to trek on without it and my sauce came out fine.

Once the veggies are browned, add the entire bottle of wine to the pot and let it reduce by about half. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those bits of rib. This is called deglazing. This is called FLAVOR.

Then add your ribs back to the pot and pour in all your stock and/or water until the ribs are covered completely.

These are not tender. They have the texture of bark.

These are not tender. They have the texture of bark.

Now that everything is happy in the same pot, stick the pot in a 350 degree oven until the meat is extremely tender. For me this was about three hours. You can’t really overcook these so error on the side of longer if you are worried.

After 3 hours in the oven.

After 3 hours in the oven.

Now let this cool for at least an hour and then stick it into the fridge – covered. Leave it in there overnight to let the ribs really marinate in that wonderful stock.

When you pull the ribs out the next day there will be a pretty thick layer of fat on the top. You want to skim off as much as possible. It will be hardened which will make it easier. I actually just poured my sauce through a strainer quickly to get rid of both the fat and the veggies. They have given up all of their flavor at this point and I wanted a smooth sauce. You’ll end up with:

After a night swimming in awesome.

After a night swimming in awesome.

Now it’s pretty easy to finish off. Just bring to a boil on the stove and simmer for about an hour. I wanted my sauce even thicker so I removed my ribs from the pot and simmered the liquid down for another hour. Then I added my ribs back at the end just to get them all glazed.

Worth the wait and work.

Worth the wait and work.

So that’s it! It might sound complicated, but it is really just a lot of waiting. Maybe you can catch a Law & Order marathon or something. There isn’t a lot of hard work involved as long as you remember to get the butcher to chop up your ribs…

I served these with potatoes and asparagus. You could also serve over rice or egg noodles. Egg noodles would basically make it a very hardy beef stroganoff dish.

If you’ve ever made this and have any other tips or have any questions about the dish, feel free to comment here!