Cooking 101: Make Braised Short Ribs Perfect for Winter

I love fall and winter cooking. Casseroles, baked pastas, soups and stews. It’s all good. And while for the most part you can do little more than toss the ingredients together and pop in the oven or on the stove, there are little details — easy steps you can take — to elevate even the simplest dish into something spectacular.

These braised short ribs are the perfect example. Short ribs are a relatively inexpensive cut of meat, yet make for a transcendent dish with just a bit of patience and a lot of (mostly unattended) time on the stove.

Try this once and you’ll be hooked — it’s a warm and homey dish, but it’s special enough to serve to your favorite guests. Add a bottle of red wine and a green salad, and winter doesn’t seem so bad after all!

  • Perfect Braised Short Ribs! 1 of 8
    braised short ribs

    Wouldn't you love to come home from a day of pumpkin-picking to this warm and welcoming meal? Just a few simple steps - and ingredients - turn a humble cut like short ribs into a fall-off-the-bone, mouthwatering dish!

  • Dry and Season the Ribs 2 of 8
    braised short ribs

    Dry the ribs thoroughly - removing any excess moisture. Season generously with salt and pepper.

  • Coat with Flour 3 of 8
    braised short ribs

    The secret to  a beautifully browned crust? Coating the ribs with flour before you saute. Don't even think about skipping this step; it makes all the difference!

  • Have Your Ingredients Prepped! 4 of 8
    braised short ribs

    Get the veggies and other ingredients chopped, measured and ready to go - preparing your "mise en place" (a fancy term for organizing your ingredients in advance) makes pulling this dish together a snap!

  • Nicely Browned and Ready to Go! 5 of 8
    braised short ribs

    Here's why you flour the ribs - this gorgeous browned crust imparts incredible flavor and texture!

  • Liquid Gold 6 of 8
    braised short ribs

    Once the ribs have simmered, skim off the fat and add it to the reserved flour mixture. Use this "liquid gold" to thicken the sauce and create a rich and flavorful gravy.

  • "Roux" the Day! 7 of 8
    braised short ribs

    Time to make the "roux"! Roux (pronounced "roo") is a mixture of flour and fat, used to thicken a sauce or gravy. Whisk 2 tablespoons of fat from the sauce into your reserved flour mixture. Add additional flour if needed; you'll want a thick paste. When your roux is returned to the pot it creates a rich, delicious gravy-like sauce.

  • Dinner! 8 of 8
    braised short ribs

    Serve this beautiful dish over buttered noodles, mashed potatoes or long grain rice. You can prepare the ribs up to two days in advance and simply reheat it prior to serving. In fact, the flavors actually develop and improve with time, making this a practically perfect fall meal!

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Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine Gravy
adapted from Bon Appetit

1/4 c.  flour
1 t. allspice
12  3-4”³ long short ribs (about 5 1/2 pounds), patted dry and generously seasoned with salt and pepper

4 T. vegetable oil
3 large onions, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled, chopped
3 large celery stalks, chopped

4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T. dried thyme
2 t. caraway seeds
8 oz. plum tomatoes (canned or fresh), chopped
3  bay leaves
3 c. canned beef broth
2 c. dry red wine

Buttered egg noodles, mashed potatoes or long grain rice

Combine  flour and allspice in a medium bowl.  Heat 3 T. of oil in a Dutch oven (or other large pot), over medium high heat.

Toss a few ribs at a time in the flour mixture, to coat. Add ribs to the Dutch oven in a single layer and saute, turning, until nicely browned on all sides. As they finish browning, transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining ribs (adding more oil if needed). Do not discard the remaining flour/allspice mixture.

Add remaining 1 T. of oil to the pot, along with the onions, carrots and celery. Saute until vegetables are very tender (scraping the bottom of the pot often), about 30 minutes.

Add garlic, thyme and caraway seeds to the pot; stir for 1 minute. Mix in tomatoes and bay leaves. Return ribs (and any accumulated juices) to the pot. Add broth and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until meat is almost tender, about 1 hour.

Uncover the  pot and simmer ribs for 30 minutes, occasionally spooning fat from surface. Stir 2 T. of the fat into reserved flour/allspice mixture until smooth. Mix this “paste” into the sauce around the ribs and simmer until meat is very tender and gravy thickens, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve ribs and gravy over buttered noodles (can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cool completely and refrigerate, covered.  To reheat, remove from fridge and spoon out any fat that has formed on the surface.)

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