Before I jump into the post, I have to share that today is a very special day because my mother Clarette is 89 years old! So happy birthday; I am so lucky that you are my mother!
As we settle in to fall, one of things that means for our household is pots of things that cook low and slow all day. They make the house smell amazing, which creates a sense of warmth throughout the day. We love chili, soups and chowders of almost any variety, pot roasts, and almost anything that can be made in Dutch Oven or slow cooker.
One of the meals that we enjoy is braised beef short ribs. They are a bit of a splurge, but like so many splurge items, sometimes it’s just worth it. For this package of four short ribs, the cost was a little over $9, and seeing none in the meat case, I had to ask the butcher to get some out of the back. This worked well, as he let me pick how many I wanted in my package.
Like so many great recipes, it is not the complexity of the ingredients, but the execution that makes the dish special. The French have proven this to be true for years. For these braised beef short ribs, you need a few very simple, earthy ingredients; ribs, celery, carrots, onion, and a little braising liquid. For this batch, I also added some Yukon Gold potatoes cut in quarters, but that is optional, especially if you are planning to serve them over some other starch at the end.
To begin, pre-heat the oven to 325. Toss the ribs in 1/2 cup of flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Dice two stalks of celery into small cubes. Cut four large carrots into 3-4″ lengths, or use 1 small bag of petite carrots. It might be hard to see in the pictures, but for this batch, just for fun, I used the new multi-colored carrots that are purple, white and orange. Slice one large sweet onion into 1/4 inch half rings and set aside with carrots and celery. In a Dutch Oven or roasting pan, melt butter and olive oil on medium high heat and add the coated ribs. Brown on all sides, about one minute on each side, turning them over with tongs. Once they are brown, remove and place on a platter. In the pan, add 3/4 cup of beef stock, water, or red wine, using a whisk to scrape all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan into the liquid.
Place the celery and carrots into the pan liquid and place the ribs on top. The carrots and celery act as a riser to keep the ribs from being fully submerged into the liquid, allowing them to braise rather than poach. Top the ribs with the sliced onion and a sprig of rosemary, if desired. Bake for 2 -3 hours until tender.
Once done, remove the ribs, onions and any remaining carrots and celery from the pan and place on a platter. Cover with foil. Braising liquid is a terrible thing to waste, so heat the liquid to boiling and let thicken somewhat. At that point, it can be turned into a nice pan sauce by whisking in a pat of butter, or a gravy by adding a tablespoon of flour with 1/2 cup of water whisked together and added to the liquid. Most of the time, we just pour it over the ribs and vegetables just the way it comes out of the pan, skimming off some of the liquid fat first. See full downloadable recipe below.
Braised beef short ribs are often served over mashed potatoes, but they are also great over egg noodles or grits. Sometimes, like today, I just throw the potatoes in with the ribs where they soak up all of that luscious braising liquid. The truth is, these ribs are so fall-off-the-bone tender that you won’t care what you serve them on. That being said, due to the wonderful richness of this dish, something fresh like a cucumber/tomato salad or fresh cooked broccoli, is a nice light accompaniment.
So there you have it; another comforting fall recipe to add to your arsenal. They are definitely company worthy (plan on about one-two meaty ribs per person) and literally foolproof. They also make amazing leftovers. Most of us enjoy the occasional baby back ribs or pot roast. But when you want to take it to the next level, Braised Beef Short Ribs make a very special meal that I think you will really enjoy.