Turn any night into a special occasion with these classic Red Wine Braised Short Ribs.
Have you heard of the 5 Love Languages before? I studied them years ago, and found them to be a helpful tool for understanding myself and my loved ones. The five languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, quality time, and acts of service. Each of us are naturally inclined to give and receive love in one or two of those main languages. One of the challenges in our daily relationships is learning to know and “speak” the language that makes our spouses, children, and friends feel most loved and cared for.
I’m an “acts of service” girl myself (put my laundry away and I’ll love you forever), but around these parts there’s another love language that’s important to both of us: food.
Preparing and sharing food with people is one of my favorite ways of showing love. I love the challenge of tailoring a meal around someone’s personal tastes and preferences. If you’re coming over to my house, I want to make your favorite thing. If I know you love beef jerky, you can bet it’ll be in your stocking Christmas morning. If you’re gluten free, I’ll scour the town to find the best gluten free pastries for your birthday dessert.
If you happen to be my husband, I’m making you beef for Valentine’s Day dinner, because if food is our love language, beef is my husband’s dialect.When I married this guy, I knew I wanted to learn to speak the language. After all, this is the man who wooed me with Crock Pot Beer Braised Pot Roast. Over the years, I’ve become fluent in beef. We’ve made everything from Cast Iron Ribeye Steaks to Slow Cooker French Onion Beef Stew. But there was one dish I had not yet conquered–short ribs.
For the last several years, the Mr. has been ordering short ribs at restaurants and raving about this tender, richly flavored cut. Still, I felt intimidated to cook them at home. But when we bought a side of beef last year and a few packages of short ribs came with it, I knew this was my chance to learn to cook this popular cut at home.
It turns out, this cut doesn’t require a lot of skill, just a little patience. If you look around the web for short rib recipes, you’ll start to see a pattern. In most cases, the ribs are browned in oil, perhaps with some vegetables and garlic, then drowned in a red wine broth and set in the oven to marinate for hours. It’s a simple formula, and one I knew would deliver. Beef and red wine is one of life’s most dependable (and delicious) pairs.
My take on short ribs remains true to the formula, with a couple tweaks that make it just right for us. We added a whole bunch of onions (which taste like candy after several hours in the oven) and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme, which infuse the meat with flavor. For the wine, I chose a nice Cabernet Sauvignon. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your wine (I think mine was about $10), but I always recommend buying something that you wouldn’t mind drinking. The intense flavor of Cabernet stands up well to the bold, rich flavor of beef, making it a great choice for almost any cut. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and try other combinations. For other pairing ideas, check out the infographic below from the Ohio Beef Council.
Now, about that patience. Short ribs need to be cooked low and slow to produce the tender, fall apart beef we love, but they also really benefit from an overnight rest. Short ribs are a fatty cut, but after being refrigerated overnight, you can scrape the hardened layer of fat off the top then return it to the oven to reheat. I’ve found this helps improve both the tenderness and flavor of the beef. It also makes this a surprisingly great dish for dinner parties. Do all the work the day before, then simply pop this in the oven to reheat before your guests arrive.
Of course, when your husband walks through the door to the smell of rosemary, red wine, and beef, and then is informed he can’t, in fact, eat that for dinner tonight, he may think you’ve enrolled in some kind of advanced husband torture class. Just remind him good things come to those who wait, then lock the fridge for the next 24 hours. Trust me, he’ll thank you tomorrow.
Most of you probably already consider beef a wonderful option for a romantic date night in, but did you know beef is also packed with protein and nutrients? One 3 ounce portion has 25 grams of protein and 10 essential nutrients. This American Heart Month, add lean beef to your diet, which research shows can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. And while you’re toasting over a great steak or a pile of short ribs, be sure to toast to the 17,000 beef farming families right here in Ohio who work in rain, snow, sleet, or shine (even on Valentine’s Day!), to bring fresh, quality beef to our kitchen tables.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 1/2 lbs. bone in short ribs *see note
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 2 large sweet yellow onions, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon (or other full bodied red wine)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Generously season the short ribs with fresh cracked pepper and Kosher salt, rubbing it over all sides. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan in a single layer and sear, leaving the ribs in place for several minutes before turning. Repeat on all sides. Remove the short ribs to a plate.
Drain off any excess fat from the pan, leaving 1 Tablespoon in the pan. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions and saute until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute, until fragrant. Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until reduced slightly.
Nestle the short ribs back in the pan, then pour in the beef broth. They should be just barely covered. Place the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf in the liquid surrounding the beef.
Cover the pot and place in the oven. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until beef is very tender. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before serving.
Optional but recommended: Place the pot in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to reheat, scrape off the hard layer of fat on top and discard. Reheat the beef in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or on the stove top over low heat. I recommend serving the beef with the liquid and onions over mashed potatoes, polenta, or egg noodles.
You can find short ribs in either flank or English style cuts (or a hybrid). Flank cuts are long and thin with several bones in each cut. English cuts have one long bone running alongside it. The cut you see pictured in this recipe is a hybrid flank with several bone pieces in a thick cut. You can ask your butcher for a specific type of cut, but either should work well for this recipe.