Saturday, February 26, 2011

Braised Short Ribs

 Short ribs are a relatively tough cut of meat, but when cooked slowly over low heat they are tender and very flavorful.  This recipe was inspired by a video on Mark's Daily Apple. I've served these ribs for company, and everyone loved them.  These also passed the 3-year-old test; my daughter gobbled them down!

I've provided two different cooking methods below, one for when you have limited prep time and the other for when you can take a little extra time to make the ribs even better.  I've cooked the ribs both ways, and they were delicious each time.  Either way, you will need a long, slow cooking time to allow the ribs to get very tender. 

Braised Short Ribs:

  • 2-3 pounds short ribs or back ribs
  • 4 Tb grassfed ghee or combination of butter and sunflower or sesame oil (the oil will help raise the smoke point of the butter so it does not burn) (NOTE: this ingredient is not needed for the Time-Crunch Method)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 c. homemade beef stock
  • 14 oz chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand is BPA-free)
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • Celtic sea salt and pepper

Time-Crunch Method (Normal Weekday Morning)
  1. Place onion, carrots, and celery in the bottom of a slow cooker or oven-safe pot.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. If necessary, use a sharp knife to separate the ribs.  Place ribs on top of chopped veggies and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. 
  3. Sprinkle garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves on top of meat. 
  4. Pour chopped tomatoes and beef stock around meat.  Pour in a splash of red wine vinegar. There should be just enough liquid to cover most of the meat, but leave the top of the meat exposed. 
  5. Set slow cooker on Low (or place in covered oven-safe pot* in 215 degree oven).  Cook for 8-10 hours.
  6. Check seasonings and add any more salt and pepper as needed.  Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Serve and enjoy.  It is delicious served alongside a simple side salad. 

Plenty of Time Method (Special Weekend Dinner)
  1. If necessary, use a sharp knife to separate the ribs. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 2 Tb ghee in a medium pot over medium-high heat (you will need to use an oven-safe pot* if you don't have a slow cooker to use in subsequent steps).  Once hot, add ribs and brown them in the ghee.  To get a nice brown crust, let the ribs cook for a few minutes on each side (resist the urge to move them around while browning).
  3. Remove ribs to a bowl or plate.  
  4. Melt remaining 2 Tb ghee in pot and add onion, carrots, and celery.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes.  Then deglaze the pot by adding the splash of red wine vinegar, beef stock, and tomatoes.  Allow to reduce for a few minutes, then add garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.
  5. If using a slow cooker, carefully transfer mixture to slow cooker. Nestle the ribs down into the sauce and veggies, leaving the top of the meat exposed.  Set on Low and cook for 6-8 hours. 
  6. Alternatively, nestle the ribs down into the pot of veggies and sauce. Cover pot and place in 215 degree oven for 6-8 hours.
  7. Check seasonings and add any more salt and pepper as needed.  Allow to cool slightly.
  8. Serve and enjoy.  It is delicious served alongside a simple side salad.  
*With the long cooking time and the presence of tomatoes, the best oven-safe pot would be enamel-coated.  That would prevent any reaction between metal and the acidic tomatoes.

This recipe is part of Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist!


    Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist said...

    I really need to give this recipe a go as I basically never do ribs at my home and my kids just love them when we eat them at other folks' homes and such. This is a great rundown of the how-to. Thanks for sharing with all of us at Monday Mania this week! :)

    Laura said...

    We buy half a grass fed cow and keep all the meat in the deep freezer. I have been trying to figure out what to do with all the short ribs... I might just have to try this recipe out with them!

    Sarah Smith said...

    I had never made short ribs before a few years ago when we bought our first portion of a cow. I usually make either this braised ribs recipe or BBQ ribs in the slow cooker (maybe I'll post that recipe, too).

    Shu Han said...

    This looks awesome! I found your blog from Food Renegade! I agree, slow cooking just makes the meat oh-so-tender! I love long-cookign stews, I did a Korean pork bone stew a month ago
    and a slow-roasted pork belly recently. Thanks for giving me more slow cooking ideas!

    Charity Sauve said...

    This does look delicious! We just got our first 1/2 cow recently, and I am trying to figure out what to do with all the different cuts. One question, about how many people would you say this recipe feeds? We have a rather large family (7-9 depending on who is home)so I wanted to get an idea of whether I should double this or if it would be enough for all of us.

    Sarah Smith said...

    Hi Charity,
    I think this recipe could feed about 6 people easily, maybe more. But to be safe, you could throw in an extra pack of ribs. When I made this for a large group, I used a 2-3 pound pack of short ribs plus a pack of just plain "back ribs" which was about 1 pound. It was plenty. (We also had a side salad to round things out.)

    You might also like my recipe for Brisket with Carrots and Onions. That one can be made with any of the roasts from your cow, and that recipe will feed 7-9 people.


    ShorterMama said...

    My ribs are in the crock-pot right now! I, too, had a bulk purchase of beef and didn't know what to do with short ribs! Thanks so much for posting this!!

    Sarah Smith said...

    You're welcome, ShorterMama. I hope you enjoy the ribs!

    Anonymous said...

    at what point do you remove the meat from the bone?

    Sarah Smith said...

    The meat will basically just fall off the bones when you serve it up.

    Unknown said...

    I don't think red wine vinegar is GAPS legal, maybe can sub. apple cider vinegar instead?

    Sarah Smith said...

    Hi Jamie,
    Red wine vinegar should be fine on GAPS. It is listed as legal on the SCD site (the SCD is the basis for the GAPS diet). You can see that here: