This is one of my all-time favorite meals to make. It is easy to put together, but delicious and impressive enough to serve to guests. The short-ribs are relatively inexpensive, as well, so it’s good for feeding a crowd on a budget. This same dish can be made using lamb shanks, as well. I dub this a low and slow recipe, but don’t worry that it takes a super long time. You can put it together quickly and then just pop in the oven for a couple of hours. Longer is better, but not strictly necessary. You could also do this in your crock pot if you need to leave it for the day!
- 3 – 4 lbs Beef Short Ribs (bone in)
- Salt and pepper
- Enough flour to dredge the ribs (1/4 cup or so)
- Pancetta or bacon, about half cup, cubed
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (I also like shallots in this)
- 2 whole carrots, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup red wine (or white if you can’t do red, you can also skip this entirely and use more stock)
- 2 cups of stock – beef preferably, but chicken is also fine
- 3 – 4 fresh sprigs of herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano
Salt and pepper your ribs on all sides. Then dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess, and set aside.
In a large dutch oven, add a dash of olive oil and then the pancetta or bacon. Cook over medium heat till crispy and the fat has rendered. Remove the pancetta and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
Add the short ribs, a few at a time, to the pot and brown on all sides. Remove and add as they finish browning. Do not over crowd your pot.
When the ribs are all browned and set aside, add a bit more olive oil to the pot and then add the carrots, onion, shallot and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, being careful not to burn it.
Add the wine to the pot and deglaze the bottom, scraping up all the good bits. Bring to a boil and cook till reduced by about half. Then add the beef or chicken stock and return to boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the ribs to the liquid – they should be almost completely submerged. Throw the whole springs of herbs and that pancetta you set aside into the pot (don’t mix it in, just leave them floating on top).
Put the lid on the dutch oven and place into a 300 degree oven. Let cook slowly for the next 2 hours. At the 2 hour mark, the ribs should be tender and falling off the bones. If not, let them go another hour.
Remove from the oven when done and let sit for 20 minutes. Just before serving, skim some of the risen fat off the top of the liquid. Or, if preferred, at this point you can let the ribs cool completely, then place the pot in the refrigerator. The next day, remove all the fat that will have collected and solidified on the top of the liquid before slowly reheating the ribs on low heat on the stove top.
Serve the ribs and juices over mashed potatoes, polenta or rice.
The smells of slow cooking spread around the house and impart a unique warmth matched only by the flavour of the food.Yotam Ottolenghi