I have a confession. When I first started cooking, I really had no idea what I was doing. I had thus far viewed myself as a baker and a baker only, so when I’d ask my mom for recipes I could practice my cooking with, I’d be begging her for step-by-step directions.
I’d have to plead for actual measurements rather than her version of measurements (i.e. a little bit of this or a dash of that). In any case, I got tired of trying to decipher her recipes and attempted an online recipe for braised short ribs.
To say they turned out beautifully would be an understatement; they were some of the best short ribs I’d ever had. I remember the group of family that I had over for dinner that night was oohing and aahing over the short ribs, declaring me a born chef!
Can you believe it? I felt like I was in one of those frozen meal commercials, where the hostess pretends she made a homemade meal but it’s really store-bought.
Even though I had made the braised short ribs from scratch, it just felt like it had been too easy to make to get such superb results. Everyone thought the short ribs were so fancy and so scrumptious; they were acting like I had invented the dish, for gosh sake!
The thing is, as beautiful as a plate of braised short ribs may look, it’s really just slow-cooked meat, and slow-cooked meat will always impress.
Getting such rave compliments over a meal I had practically tossed into a dutch oven and left alone for a couple of hours almost made me feel like I shouldn’t have been beaming with as much pride as I was….almost.
So to say this meal is foolproof, well, it would be an understatement.
Honestly, if you want all of your guests to think you are some culinary wizard and prepare gourmet meals on the regular like it’s no one’s business, make these braised short ribs.
My only cooking note to add here would be to make sure you nicely sear the short ribs during one of the initial steps of making this dish. That step really helps lock in the short ribs’ juices and contribute to the overall dish’s flavor.
I think my favorite part about these braised short ribs are how incredibly tender they are. The “test” to check if the ribs are done cooking is to sort of pull at the beef with your fork, and if it’s coming off the bone and sort of “shredding” off, then you’e good to go.
Whenever I test for their readiness, I can already feel myself salivating over how incredible they will taste. I’m just like, “They’re ready! Yep! Let’s eat!”
And while short ribs are the not the cheapest type of beef to buy, it always amazes me that one serving of them at a restaurant can cost upwards of $20! Instead, you can make this dish for many more people for much less, making it a lovely meal for the holidays.
Braised Short Ribs
- 8 whole beef short ribs
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz of diced pancetta or 6 strips of bacon diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 whole onion diced
- 3 whole carrots diced
- 2 whole shallots finely minced
- 3/4 c red wine merlot works well
- 2 c beef broth
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large dutch oven, cook the pancetta or bacon over medium heat until browned and crispy. Remove the pancetta/bacon using a slotted spoon so that you don’t remove its residual grease from the pot; set aside.
Add olive oil to the pot, then raise the heat to medium high. Place the ribs in the pot and let both sides of each short rib brown. If you have very large ribs, brown the sides that add depth to the ribs too. Use cooking tongs to carefully remove the ribs from the pot; set the ribs aside on a plate.
Turn the heat down to medium. Add in the diced onions, shallots, and carrots and cook for until the onions are translucent. Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of pot to release the bits of fat from the previously cooked pancetta/bacon. Bring the mixture to a boil (about 2 to 3 minutes).
Add the beef broth, 3/4 tsp of salt, and a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if desired. Add the ribs back into the pot, and then the sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
Place the lid on the dutch oven and transfer to your oven. Cook at 350°F for 2 hours. After 2 hours, reduce the heat to 325°F and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes, with the lid on, before serving.