Sunday Dinner: Short ribs


Like little brown lumps of love

Friday evening’s dinner at Moro’s Table was highlighted by a world-class braised short rib. I love me some short ribs. I like the notion that I can just cook the hell out of something and have it turn out tender at the end. There are very few cuts of meat where that works and the short rib happens to be one of them. They certainly are not the most attractive cuts of beef, as there is usually a think layer or two of fat involved. But, that’s the point of braising — allowing the slow cooking and heat from the pan juices to melt the fat into the broth. The combination of the fat and pan juices will then work together and reduce, producing a highly-flavorful broth that tastes just as good out of the oven as it does left over.


A good braised short rib recipe needs a thick starch to offset it. For a recipe like this a good polenta works. There is enough vegetables in the pan to fit the bill, but if you wanted, a steamed swiss chard or escarole would serve as a good base before serving the entree over top.

Pancetta and onion...Calvin Klein should bottle this as a fragrance

Truth be told, I thought about making this for dinner on Saturday. I might still do it today. I did end up making it for Sunday; Saturday evening’s differ was courtesy of The Wife via Five Guys Burgers and Fries. But, this lazy streak is starting to kick my ass. Frankly, I’m highly unmotivated right now. I think this will be a game time decision determined by how the muse strikes me while at Wegmans.


SUNDAY UPDATE: I ended up making the polenta from above as well as some sauteed swiss chard.

Braised short ribs
(Adapted from Gourmet)

  • A 750 mL bottle of malbec or other full-bodied wine (never merlot…never, ever merlot)
  • 4 pounds beef short ribs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped and leaves reserved with the other herbs
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 24-28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a medium saucepan, reduce the bottle of wine to one cup by boiling on high heat for 20-25 minutes. While the wine is cooking down, pat your ribs dry and season with salt and pepper.


By the time you get to the end there is going to be a lot of grease in the pan, between the oil and melted fat. Protect your hands and forearms.

In a large, deep dutch oven or braising pan, heat the oil on high until fragrant and shimmering. Add the ribs, without crowding the pan, and brown on all sides but the bone. When a rib is browned, remove, set on a plate and rotate in a raw piece. When the meat is done, use a spoon or pour off all but 1-2 tbsp of drippings. Reduce heat to medium and add the pancetta. Brown until the fat is rendered. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened, but don’t brown (about six minutes). Add the garlic and cook two minutes, mixing with the onion. Add the remaining raw veggies and herbs and cook for an additional two minutes.  Add the canned tomatoes and stir in.


Using a tongs, add the ribs to the pot , bone side down, along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Add the reduced wine syrup and water to the pan and bring it all to a boil. Once it comes to a bubble, cover the pot and put it in the oven and braise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Skim the fat from the surface and serve with your starch and vegetables.


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