Recipe of the Month: Braised Short Ribs

It’s still winter. Still cold. These delicious, warm, crock-pot meals are still just what we need. As I mentioned in It’s a New Year!: Let’s Get Those Orders In. technically the first meal I made with my new order of beef was simply a taco bowl with ground beef, BUT this was my second and it’s worth it. This month we’re having braised short ribs.

I was excited to try this. I’ve never had them at a restaurant before and had never tried to make them myself. It’s a pretty low-maintenance recipe as they really just sit in the crock-pot for awhile and you’re done!

You guys, this is literally the best smelling meal I have ever made at my house. It’s so hard not to open the lid and sneak and sniff every ten minutes!

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What are short ribs?

Short ribs are the area sort of between the chuck and rib area. It’s a heavily used muscle area therefore the meat takes longer to cook to really break down those tendons and become tender. This is why short ribs are typically braised. You sear the outside and get a nice brown on them, then pop them in a slow cooker and wait. When I got mine out the meat literally fell off the bone….like, I had to fish it out of the pot.

I set my short ribs out to thaw in the fridge for a few days and when I removed the butcher paper I loved what I saw! They were so marbled and red. Let’s be honest, it looks like huge slabs of bacon which is probably what drew me to them.

Getting Started

For a basic braised short rib the ingredients are about the same on most recipes I researched, I sort of followed here and there and did what I felt like. A few notes:

1) I was stupid and didn’t trim the fat on mine. I don’t what I thought was going to happen to it but it doesn’t just disappear. Obviously I know this, but I wasn’t thinking and overlooked that step resulting in more of a mess I had to deal with when trying to remove it afterwards.

2) I didn’t weigh my ribs, I just used a whole package I had, but I’m assuming it was maybe 2-3 pounds WITH the fat. It looks like more than it was and I only got about 3 servings out of it. Granted, I didn’t serve it with mashed potatoes or anything so we ate more meat than one typically would in this meal.

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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs beef short ribs (bone-in)
  • 1-2 Tbsp oil for searing
  • 3 cups beef broth (or 1 cup broth/2 cups red wine)
  • Thyme (3-4 sprigs or about a teaspoon of dried)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Process:

First you want to TRIM THE FAT. Trust me.

Then, salt and pepper the ribs, oil your skillet, and sear those beautiful hunks of meat on all sides. (I would have loved to have my cast iron skillet for this)

While doing this you can start cutting up your onions, garlic, and any other vegetables you might want to add at some point (carrots, celery, potatoes, etc.)

Place the seared ribs in your crock pot with your veggies, 1 cup of broth, thyme, and bay leaf.

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Back to your skillet, saute the onions until they get tender. This took quite awhile for me. I like them real soft – but this will happen in the crock pot too.

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Add the garlic and tomato paste, cook for a minute.

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Add the remaining broth (some recipes used a dry red wine. This would have been delicious but I skipped it this time.)

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Boil this mixture until the liquid reduces by half or so, then add to the crock-pot with the other ingredients.

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Cover and cook for awhile.

My crock pot has super powers and gets really hot. I went ahead and just cooked mine on high for about 2-3 hours, however you can cook it on low for up to 8 hours if you wish Unfortunately if I did that the whole thing would probably just evaporate.

Additional Tip: Make sure you pour some of that delicious broth over your ribs! To make it more of a gravy, mix a little flour or cornstarch with some water and add to the broth while stirring. It will thicken quickly.

A lot of people serve these over mashed potatoes. I just ate it as is with a side of green beans. I actually added some of the juice and onions to my beans and it was delicious!