Braised Short Ribs
(Jewish beef ribs simmered in red wine)
Image © iStockphoto
While brisket is the traditional choice for Passover, more and more Jews are turning to braised beef short ribs as a more tender, flavorful and luxurious option for their post-Seder meal.
Short ribs are a fatty cut of meat, which is one reason why they're so flavorful. But ribs swimming in grease aren't very appetizing. This recipe uses a simple two-step process to get rid of excess fat.
First you roast the ribs in a hot oven to render excess fat while also giving them a nice caramelized crust. Then a slow braise in herb-scented wine finishes them to falling-off-the-bone perfection.
4 to 6 servings
- Beef short ribs, English or flanken-cut -- 5 pounds
- Fresh thyme, chopped -- 1 tablespoon
- Fresh rosemary, chopped -- 1 tablespoon
- Freshly ground black pepper -- 1 teaspoon
- Red wine -- 2 cups
- Oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Onions, finely chopped -- 2
- Carrot, finely chopped -- 2
- Celery, finely chopped -- 1 rib
- Tomatoes, chopped -- 1 cup
- Tomato paste -- 1 tablespoon
- Chicken broth -- 3 cups
- Bay leave -- 1
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Add the ribs, thyme, rosemary, pepper and wine to a large, non-reactive bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove the ribs from the marinade and set the marinade aside. Pat the ribs dry and place them in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 325°F.
- Remove the ribs to a large plate or bowl. Drain and discard the fat from the roasting pan. Add the reserved wine marinade to the pan. Heat the roasting pan on the stove over medium-low flame, gently scraping up any flavorful drippings from the bottom of the pan. When the wine just begins to boil, remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof pot over medium-high flame. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery and saute until the onion is cooked through and translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer until cooked down and reduced somewhat, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir the wine and drippings to the pot, along with the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add the roasted ribs and bring just to a boil. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and set in the oven to cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Take the pot from the oven and remove the ribs to a warm serving dish. Spoon off any excess fat in the pot, then set the pot over medium-high flame and boil for a few minutes to reduce the sauce down and thicken it a bit. Pour the sauce over the ribs and serve immediately.
Braised Short Ribs Variations
- Finishing on the Stovetop: If you need room in the oven for other dishes, you can finish the ribs on the stovetop instead. Just set them, covered, over medium-low flame and give them a gentle stir now and them.
- A Make-Ahead Meal: Braised short ribs can be finished through step 5 and refrigerated until about half an hour before mealtime. Just bring them back up to heat on the stovetop. This saves time when you're entertaining guests and allows enough time for the flavor to develop even more. And because the fat congeals when cold, it's easy to remove any excess from the sauce.
- Sauce Variations: Substitute 1/2 cup of port or vermouth for 1/2 cup of the red wine to give your sauce a richer, sweeter flavor. Or try stirring in 1 or 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. For a smoother sauce, strain it through a fine sieve before pouring it over the ribs. To thicken the sauce a bit, use your fingers to knead 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons of flour to form a paste. Stir pieces of this beurre manié into the simmering sauce until it is thickened to your liking.
- Christmas Braised Ribs: The Christian set loves braised short ribs too! Give your holiday meal Yuletide flavor by adding an orange peel and 2 or 3 whole cloves to the simmering ribs before setting it in the oven.
- Vegetables:Stir in peeled and chopped root vegetables to cook with the ribs for the last 30 to 40 minutes of braising. Try peeled pearl onions, baby carrots, diced parsnips, diced celery root.