Short Ribs: AKA your new best friend

I can't even tell you how heavenly these are. You'll just have to trust me and make them.

As part of my adventure into the wonders of beef, I decided to make the Pioneer Woman’s short ribs. They don’t photograph nearly as delicious as they taste. But trust me, this has become a favorite recipe around these parts. I honestly don’t know what I was doing with my life before they came storming in.

I don’t always follow her recipe exactly, so here’s my version: It’s got a little more wine, and a few less ingredients (i.e. the things I don’t normally have in my fridge, and forget to buy due to tunnel vision at the meat counter), but the ribs are just as yummy.

Much like risotto, this recipe takes some time. It’s not difficult at all, it just takes about 3 hours to cook once you have it in the oven. It’s great for a Sunday when you don’t want to do anything too strenuous, but need a hearty meal and have the time to let these cook. Warning: You will not be able to contain your saliva while these are in the oven. The scent will seep into your pores and turn you into a beef-crazed monster of your former self. But you’ll like it 🙂

What You’ll Need:

1 medium onion, diced
3-7 whole carrots, diced
1-2 shallots (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 strips pancetta (or bacon, or you can leave this ingredient out all together. I normally do because I forget)
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef broth
Several springs of rosemary and thyme
salt & pepper
8 whole beer short ribs, bone-in
Equipment:
1 large dutch oven (mine is 6 quarts)
large wooden spoon or spatula
Tongs
Whisk (optional, especially if you are cooking in a boy’s kitchen and they don’t have a whisk)
Cutting board and knife

Now, let’s get cookin!
First, you want to do all of your prep work. i.e. chopping carrots, onions, bacon, shallots, and things like that. Also, pre-heat your oven to 350-degrees.
The Pioneer Woman calls for 3 carrots. But I really like carrots, and they get an amazing flavor in the cooking liquid. So I put in like five... or six... or seven.

I’m going to give you a very important piece of advice about onions: use white ones. Yellow ones have a much higher content of whatever it is that makes you tear up. My eyes were burning for like an hour after I chopped this bad boy. Do yourself a favor. Buy a white onion.

You can't see it here, but I look like someone just shot my puppy.
I love bacon. I always forget to buy it when I get the short ribs. Ally didn't forget though, did you Ally? Mmmmmm, bacon.

Now it’s time for the gold. The short ribs. The “bone-in” part is key, because that’s where a lot of the delicious flavor comes from. I guess that’s kind of gross, so try not to think about it. And if they don’t have bone-in (like when I was cooking these for my parents) don’t fret–the boneless ones cook just fine. Put them out on a flat surface, looking all pretty, and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper on all sides.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. The Pioneer Woman and I actually disagree on this step. After seasoning them, she dredges the short ribs in flour. But when I did that, the outside of the ribs came out kind of soggy. I prefer mine to be un-floured. You can decide for yourself on this one.

Now it’s time to cook the bacon. The part that you really want out of this process is the bacon fat. So set your burner on medium-high, and cook the pancetta/bacon down until the bottom of the dutch oven is covered in that beautiful, flavorful residue.

Again, no pressure. If you forget to buy bacon (or really love pigs) just skip this step. The short ribs will still taste amazing.

When it’s all cooked down, remove the bacon and turn the burner on high. Drop in 2 tbsp of olive oil and let it heat up a minute. Then you are going to sear the short ribs to seal in the juices while they braise. You just want to brown them, so about 30-45 seconds on each side. You’ll probably have to do them in multiple batches. Don’t crowd the meat.

When they’re all nice and brown, remove them to a plate (or the same cutting board… Basically just get them out of the pan). Also, try to keep from drooling into the pan. Your dinner guests don’t want your saliva in their dinner.

Mmmmmmmmmm. This was batch two.

Now it’s veggie time. You’re going to pour in your carrots and onion (and shallots if you have them) into the pan, lowering the heat to medium/medium-high. Mix them around to brown them.

I really really love carrots. Speaking of carrots, did you know that Bugs Bunny was based on Clark Gable's character in "It Happened One Night"? It's true! Watch it. It's amazing, and it will all make sense about halfway through.

 After your veggies have browned, you want to pour in 2 cups of red wine. The red is important here. Don’t use white. Red. After you pour it in, grab a whisk (or really any utensil) and stir it around, scraping all the goodness off of the bottom. This is called “de-glazing” a pan. Because you remove the “glaze” that was left by the meat. See? It all makes sense. Once it is thoroughly de-glazed, turn the heat up and bring it to a boil for 2 minutes.

Look at that boil!
 Now it is time to add 2 cups of broth. Or if you’re like me, you add more wine. I’m a rebel. Throw in a healthy pinch of salt and some pepper as well. Then wiggle all of your ribs into the liquid, along with a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary. The liquid should be almost covering the ribs. Don’t judge it by the below photo, we added a bit more liquid over the top after everything was settled in there. Throw in the bacon so you’re not wasteful.
Now it’s time to put the lid on and let the magic happen. Stick your covered pot-full-of-goodness into your 350-degree oven and set the timer for two hours. At that point, lower the oven down to 325 and cook another half an hour. When you lower the oven you can also make something to go with the short ribs. We went with sweet potatoes: Rinse the outsides, poke holes in them with a fork, wrap them in foil, and stick them on the rack of the oven for 45 minutes while the ribs are cooking/cooling. Easy peasy.
When you take them out of the oven, let them cool on the stove for about 20 minutes. Then grab a ladle and skim off the fat that’s risen to the top. It may be a bit difficult if you have a crowded pot (which I usually do) so pull out a few of the short ribs first.
Then spoon and serve on a plate. Then proceed to kiss me through the internets because your tummy is so happy. You’re welcome.
I can't even tell you how delicious this is. But it is soooo goood.
Picture-less Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350-degrees
2. Dice your carrots, onion, shallots and bacon/pancetta (shallots and bacon optional). Set aside.
3. Generously season your short ribs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. With your stove set on medium-high, cook the diced bacon/pancetta in the dutch oven. Once all the fat has been rendered, remove the bacon/pancetta and heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil. Raise heat to high.
5. Sear the short ribs on each side. You may have to do this in multiple batches. Set aside.
6. Brown the vegetables in the dutch oven, stirring for even cooking.
7. Pour in 2 cups of red wine and de-glaze the pan with a spoon or whisk. Bring veggies/liquid to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.
8. Add in 2 cups of beef broth (or more wine, or a mixture) along with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
9. Place short ribs and several sprigs of rosemary and thyme beneath the liquid. Liquid should almost be covering the meat.
10. Cover the dutch oven with the lid, and place in oven for 2 hours. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Skim the fat from the top of the liquid (option 2: put in refrigerator for half an hour-multiple hours and remove the hardened fat. But I can’t wait that long).
11. Serve, and enjoy!
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3 thoughts on “Short Ribs: AKA your new best friend

      1. I’ll have to wait til this weekend but I will definitely try it. I have been wanting ribs and this looked phenomenal. 🙂

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