Short ribs are often considered an economical and underappreciated cut of beef. However, with the right cooking technique, they can be transformed into tender and delectable dishes that will impress anyone. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of making wine-braised short ribs, a dish that showcases the true potential of this underrated cut.
Table of Contents
Understanding Short Ribs
Short ribs are the meaty ends of the rib bones taken from either the chuck roast, which has a rich flavor, or the rib roast, which has a cleaner flavor profile. Depending on how meaty the ribs are, plan on buying around one pound per person. Short ribs have a lot of connective tissue, making braising an excellent cooking method to tenderize the meat.
Wine Braised Short Ribs: A Slow Food Process
This recipe requires some patience, as the ribs are marinated in wine overnight before cooking. Slow cooking not only helps to tenderize the meat but also fills your home with mouthwatering aromas. While the entire process can be completed in one day, the flavor will be enhanced if you allow it to rest overnight.
Preparing the Marinade (The Night Before)
You will need a large roasting pan for this recipe.
Ingredients for the Marinade:
- 4-6 pounds short ribs, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp dried herbes de Provence (or equal parts thyme, basil, tarragon)
- 1 sprig fresh (or 1 tsp dried) rosemary
- 2 (750-ml) bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon (reserving one glass for the cook)
- Rub the ribs with herbs and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Place the ribs in a large non-reactive bowl or deep container.
- Cover the ribs with wine and marinate, covered, overnight in the refrigerator.
Cooking the Short Ribs (Day One)
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 large celery rib, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 medium bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2-3 cups chicken stock or broth
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat the oven to 450º F.
- Remove ribs from the marinade and pour all the wine into a sauce pot over medium heat, reducing by half.
- Arrange ribs bone-side down in the roasting pan and roast until meat begins to brown, about 45 minutes. Drain off all fat and liquid, then return the pan to the oven and continue to cook until meat is well-browned, another 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer ribs to a large plate and set aside. Drain off the fat into a small bowl and reserve. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- De-glaze the roasting pan with 2-3 cups of the reserved marinating liquid over medium heat, scraping browned bits with a wooden spoon. Set roasting pan and marinade aside
- Heat 2 tablespoons of reserved fat in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery until softened, about 12 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic for half a minute before adding the marinating liquid and the remaining ingredients, except for the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add short ribs.
- Add enough chicken broth to completely submerge the ribs. Return to a boil, cover, place in the oven, and simmer until ribs are tender, about 2-2 1/2 hours.
- Transfer the pot to a wire rack and cool, loosely covered, for about 2 hours.
- Transfer ribs to a plate. Remove any large chunks of vegetables and loose bones. Strain braising liquid into a medium bowl, pressing out liquid from solids. Discard solids. Cover ribs and the surface of the liquid with parchment paper or wax paper, and the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate separately overnight (or up to 3 days in advance of the feast).
Finishing and Serving the Short Ribs (Day Two)
- Spoon off and discard solidified fat from the braising liquid.
- In a large pot over medium heat, bring the braising liquid to a boil. Add the ribs and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook until ribs are heated, about 5 minutes longer.
- Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, polenta, rice, couscous, or simply with a crusty artisan bread loaf. Pair with a big, full-bodied red wine, preferably the same as the marinade.
In Marseille or Nice, you might find this dish prepared with the addition of Niçoise olives and prunes.
Eliminate the marinating process, but not the marinade. Start with the Day 1 steps, combining and reducing the marinade ingredients in Step 2. In step 9, pour the braising liquid into a gravy separator. Let it sit long enough for the grease to rise to the top and pour off the braising liquid, leaving the grease behind.
With this comprehensive guide to making succulent wine-braised short ribs, you’ll be able to elevate this humble cut of meat to a delicious and sophisticated dish. Perfect for a cozy weekend meal or a special occasion, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire.
Tips for Success
To make your wine-braised short ribs even more delectable, consider these helpful tips:
- Choose high-quality short ribs: Look for well-marbled, meaty ribs with a deep red color. This will ensure the best taste and tenderness.
- Use a good-quality wine: Opt for a wine that you would enjoy drinking, as its flavor will be concentrated in the braising liquid.
- Be patient with the cooking process: The low and slow cooking method is essential for breaking down the connective tissues and creating tender, flavorful meat.
- Don’t rush the marinating step: Allowing the short ribs to marinate overnight in the wine mixture will result in even more flavorful and tender meat.
- Skim the fat: Remove any excess fat from the braising liquid before reheating and serving to ensure a clean and delicious sauce.
This succulent wine-braised short ribs recipe is the perfect way to turn an often-overlooked cut of meat into a show-stopping, mouthwatering meal. By following this comprehensive guide and incorporating our helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a delicious and sophisticated dish that will impress your family and friends. So, gather your ingredients, prepare your kitchen, and get ready to embark on a culinary journey that will have everyone asking for seconds!