I have recently discovered braised short ribs. How I lived on earth for 40 years without discovering this culinary delight is beyond me. And I call myself a foodie… ANYWAY.
Every time I eat out, if braised short ribs are on the menu, then they are on my plate. I absolutely love them. These flavorful, tender, succulent beefy morsels are the way straight to my heart, I’m telling you.
So when I was visiting my local butcher earlier this week and I noticed boneless short ribs in the meat case, I inquired. How hard are they to make? What do you DO with them? It sounded easy enough, and I figured anything my butcher couldn’t tell me, I could find with The Google.
I brought home my prize and immediately started searching online for the proper way to cook boneless short ribs. It sounds like bone-in short ribs are preferred, but I had to use what I had and I didn’t want to ruin them so I found a recipe for braised boneless short ribs at America’s Test Kitchen. Then I doctored them up a bit with my favorite condiment — bacon!
Here’s how it went down. I chopped a few slices of bacon and fried ‘em up till they were nice and crispy.
While they were getting happy, I dried the meat with a paper towel and then rolled each piece in a mixture of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
And I sliced a couple of small onions.
Once the bacon was removed from the pan, I increased the heat to medium-high seared the meat on all sides. This only takes a few minutes. Then I removed the meat from the pan onto a plate to rest while I caramelized the onions. After they were nice and tender and lightly browned, I mixed in a tablespoon of tomato paste.
I keep tomato paste in a tube on hand for such occasions so I don’t have to open a whole jar.
Then it was time to add the red wine and a few cloves of garlic (leave them whole).
Oh, if you could only have smelled my kitchen when this concoction was simmering on my stovetop!! Utterly divine.
I let that simmer for a few minutes until the liquid was reduced by about half and it was getting all syrupy, and then I added beef broth and a bay leaf. If I’d had fresh thyme, I would have put a few sprigs of that in too. I had to settle for a teaspoon of dried thyme instead.
This is my favorite beef broth. I keep it in my pantry at all times.
Then I returned the meat to the pan along with the juices on the plate. I added some carrots around it, covered it and put it in a 300-degree oven to cook slowly for the next couple of hours.
The idea is to let it cook until it is almost falling apart. I don’t think mine quite got there. We were anxious to have dinner, and they had shrunk up quite a bit, but when I cut into them, I knew that I probably should have given them a little bit more time. Still, everyone thought they were divine. I skipped the advice to use a gelatin to restore suppleness, I just used the juices from the pan as is, but I think if I do it again, I would at least go so far as to simmer the juices until they are reduced for a richer flavor when poured over the meat, as advised.
I served the braised short ribs on a bed of rice with a side of carrots (from the pan), fresh steamed green beans, corn on the cob and a glass of good Cabernet Sauvignon. My family was very happy that night at the dinner table!
Here is a printable for you in case you feel like giving this a try!
- 2 lbs boneless short ribs
- sea salt and pepper
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 large or 2 small onions, sliced
- 4 cloves whole cloves garlic, no skin
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- In an oven-safe saute pan, brown diced bacon over medium-low heat until crispy; remove to paper towels.
- Dry the meat with paper towels and salt and pepper on all sides.
- Increase heat in saute pan to medium-high, and brown the meat in remaining bacon grease on all sides.
- Remove the meat from the pan to a dish while you caramelize the onions in the same pan over low heat for 10-20 minutes.
- When the onions are soft and slightly browned, stir in 1 TBSP tomato paste; cook for a minute and add the garlic, stirring, and cook for another minute.
- Increase the heat to medium high and add the wine to the pan; stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Add beef broth, garlic cloves, bay leaf and thyme; stir to combine.
- Return meat to the pan along with carrots; cover and cook for 2.5 hours in a 300-degree oven until the meat is tender and almost falls apart when you insert a fork. Turn the meat twice during cooking time.
- When the meat is done, remove it from the oven, plate it with the carrots, and cover with tin foil to keep warm.
- Strain the remaining liquid into a fresh pan. (You can allow the fat to rise and skim it off if you desire.) Heat the liquid over medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until it is reduced down to about a cup.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and carrots, and serve with potatoes or rice or pasta!