Braising is best during winter months since it fills the house with an unctuous aroma and fills your belly with succulent, spirit-warming meat. The low and slow cooking method only works on meats with a solid fat quotient, breaking down the tough connective tissue until the collagen melts into gelatin. This leaves the meat fork-tender and full of flavors conjured by the braise — especially if you marinate overnight and sear your meat before the main event.
One of the optimal cuts for braising is beef short ribs. It’s important to get fat ones — you know, the three-inch-thick ones you find in butcher shops, not the measly ones wrapped in plastic at the supermarket. Trust us, it’s worth it: These slabs are easier to work with and cut down on your prep time. Here's how it's done:
Ingredients for the marinade and braise:
- 4–5 pounds bone-in short ribs
- One 750 ml bottle of dry red wine + two cups
- Two medium yellow onions, medium diced
- Three carrots, peeled and medium diced
- Three ribs of celery, medium diced
- Six cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
- Six rosemary spears, stripped and chopped
- Six thyme sprigs, stripped and chopped
- Three bay leaves
- Five cups of beef stock
- Canola oil
- Salt and pepper
- Flour for dredging
- Pour the bottle of wine into a large saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer until the wine has reduced by 1/3.
- Once the wine is cool, add 1/3 of each vegetable and herb to the marinade.
- Put the meat into a large sealable bag (Ziploc’s fine).
- Add marinade to the bag, pushing out excess air before sealing.
- Let sit for at least 12 hours, at most two days.
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Remove the short ribs from the bag. Discard the aromatics and marinade.
- Dry the meat with paper towels, season thoroughly with salt and pepper.
- Dredge the meat in flour, patting off excess.
- In a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, add a layer of canola oil and heat until the oil is shimmering.
- Sear the meat on all available sides (about three minutes per) in batches until all are nicely browned.
- Remove to a platter.
- Lower the heat and add the remaining aromatics minus the herbs, stirring regularly until softened and lightly browned (about ten minutes).
- Add the herbs and two cups of wine to deglaze, stirring constantly, scraping bits off the bottom of the pan.
- When the wine has reduced by half, return the short ribs — bone-side down — and juices to the pan.
- Add beef stock to just above the bone level.
- Cover and put in the oven.
- Check in 15 minutes to be sure the liquid is gently simmering. Adjust heat if necessary.
- Braise until the meat is very tender (2.5-3 hours).
- Check after an hour and add more stock, if necessary.
- When the meat is fork-tender and falling off the bone, discard bones and remove the meat from the liquid.
- Set aside on a serving platter; cover with tented foil.
- Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl (discard the aromatics).
- Skim off the fat that rises on the liquid.
- Return the remaining liquid to the Dutch oven and simmer on the stove top until it thickens into a sauce.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Pour on top of the meat to serve.
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