Warm temperature season is behind us which signals it’s time for braised dishes. If there’s one cozy cool weather meal you need to be making, it’s these braised short ribs which are slow-cooked in apple cider with fresh herbs and sweet caramelized onions. It’s simple to put together and unbelievably scrumptious. Serve over a bed of creamy, garlicky mashed potatoes and you’ll have the perfect dinner for a cold night in.
The pairing of sweet apple cider and tangy caramelized onions is a combo with beefy short ribs that can’t be beat. Your kitchen will smell incredible as this slow cooks for hours. Those jammy onions practically melt into the sauce.
Now there were two major changes we made to the directions. First, we saw no reason to wipe out the pan after browning the ribs. Why would you discard that wonderful flavor? Then, at the end, after removing the bay leaves, also remove the ribs and place them onto a platter tightly covered with foil. Keep the pot on the burner and bring contents to a rolling simmer, stirring often. Mash the apple quarters so that they release their pectin and thicken the gravy, then continue to reduce down the sauce for another 10 to 15 minutes.
About 45 minutes before the dish is done, don’t forget to start your creamy mashed potatoes!
Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then rub with flour to coat. Heat a large oven-safe Dutch Oven over high heat, sear the ribs on both sides. Remove the ribs to a plate. Do this in two batches.
Add the butter and onions and cook 5 minutes, until softened. Add a 1/2 cup apple cider, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking another 5-8 minutes, until the cider has evaporated and the onions are lightly golden.
Add the thyme, then add the short ribs back to the pot. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups cider, broth or wine, carrots, garlic, and bay leaves. Arrange the apples around the meat. Cover and roast in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the short ribs are tender and falling off the bone.
Remove the bay leaves. Place the ribs onto a clean platter and cover tightly with foil.
Put the pot on a burner over medium heat and bring to a rolling simmer, adjusting heat as needed. With a rubber spatula mash the apple quarters; the pectin in them helps to thicken the sauce. Reduce down for about 10-15 minutes more.
Serve the ribs over a bed of mashed potatoes. Drizzle with the pan sauce and onions.
A sense of satisfaction comes from the way the spice-infused red wine permeates the beefy ribs and provides a backdrop for the earthy porcini mushrooms and fresh piney taste of rosemary. Truly a cool weather, down-home meal if there ever was one.
Thanks to Molly Stevens, we obtained this Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini recipe from her “All About Braising” cookbook.
A classic trio for braising beef—red wine, tomatoes and mushrooms—there’s no cut more suited to this treatment than beefy short ribs. No need to break the bank when choosing the wine, just look for a big red that can hold its own without too much tannin or bitterness, such as Shiraz, Zinfandel (which we used), or a Rhone blend.
DO AHEAD: Keep in mind that the ribs need to marinate for 12 to 24 hours, so you may want to do this step a day (or two) ahead of the planned dinner (or very early the morning of). In addition, the flavor of the short ribs improves if they are braised 1 to 2 days before you serve them. In this case, complete the recipe through Step 6, and after braising, let them cool to room temperature in their braising liquid. Once cool, transfer ribs and sauce to a glass container, cover tightly and refrigerate.
When ready to cook, scrape off almost all of the solidified fat from the surface. Arrange the ribs in a shallow baking dish, along with the sauce; discard spice pack. Cover with foil and bake in center of oven at 375° for 15 minutes. Remove foil, taste sauce for salt and pepper, and baste ribs with sauce. Place back in oven uncovered, to heat for another 10 minutes before serving.
BTW, beef short ribs should not be confused with back ribs or beef spareribs. These two cuts (one from the back and one from the belly) are what are referred to in the trade as “scalped” ribs, meaning nearly all of the meat has been stripped from the bone and there is very little left to eat—not exactly a hearty meal for company.
You’ll want a bed of creamy polenta or silken mashed potatoes over which to ladle the beef and sauce when ready. Our choice was a potato, celery root mash combo along with roasted carrots and cauliflower.
Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini
1 bottle dry robust red wine, such as Zinfandel or Shiraz
3 1/2-4 lbs. meaty beef short ribs, thick fat trimmed away and silver skin
AROMATICS & BRAISINGLIQUID:
1/2 oz. dried poricni mushrooms
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. evoo
1 large onion, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 1/2 oz. canned whole tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved or 1 lb plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped w/ juice
2- 3-4″ sprigs fresh rosemary
Marinade: place bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns and cloves wrapped up in a piece of cheesecloth; tie up.
Sauté onion, celery, carrot and garlic; add wine and cheesecloth bundle. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
Place ribs in a baking dish, season and pour over marinade. Cover and marinate 12-24 hours.
Just before braising, soak mushrooms 20-30 minutes.
Remove ribs from marinade and strain marinade into a bowl. Reserve liquid and cheesecloth bundle; discard vegetables. The ribs will have absorbed a lot of the marinade so you should have about 1 cup marinade.
Make sure ribs are dry and season. Sear until deeply browned on all sides; remove to a plate.
Preheat oven to 375°
Drain mushrooms and squeeze dry; reserve liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms and strain liquid through a coffee filter to catch any dirt or grit; reserve liquid.
Sauté onions; add garlic, tomatoes with juice and mushrooms. Add mushroom and wine liquids and boil until reduce by half. (Since we had no liquid left at the end, we recommend not reducing this liquid.) Return short ribs to pot with any juices. Tuck spice bundle in between ribs and cover with parchment, pressing down.
Cover with a lid and braise on lower rack of oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn every 40-45 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove lid and see if liquid is simmering too fast, if so turn down heat.
Remove ribs from pot and discard spice bundle. Remove top layer of fat from liquid. Season remaining liquid. Spoon over ribs. NOTE: We had no liquid left in the pot, just fat and veggies. So we first spooned off as much fat as possible. Then we added a cup of warm water, scraped down the browned bits from the side, covered and let the mixture meld, with a few stirs in between.