Some version of slowly cooked beef is one of my favorite go-to dinners. Particularly this time of year, when it gets dark at 5:00, and on a good night in Texas there is a bit of cold air swirling around, Pot Roast or Beef Stew or Beef Bourguignon cannot be beat.
Today I am sharing with you my recipe for Beef Short Ribs, and I cannot wait for you to try them. Beef Short Ribs are a recent discovery for me, and they are quickly becoming a family favorite. As a way of introduction, let’s take a look at the different members of the slow-cooked beef family tree.
She is the classic matriarch, made with onions, carrots, tomatoes, beef broth, a touch of cognac, and is able to go from casual family dinner to fancy dinner party with ease.
He is the conservative, salt-of-the earth uncle who you love to be around and can depend on, but never gets dressed up and values function over form. He is made with onions, carrots, and potatoes (for heft), simmered in beef broth without a trace of alcohol. Served best with Buttermilk Cornbread and a dose of honesty.
She is the fancy French older sister. Made from the same origin story as Beef Stew, but instead of pedestrian potatoes, she includes mushroom, pearl onions, and a foundation of smoked bacon. She swims in red wine, gets a cognac flambé at the end for added drama, and can draw a crowd without trying. Her best friends are crusty French bread, a glass of dry red wine, and cold, creamy Creme Brûlée. (Ina’s version is my favorite.)
Roast Beef Sliders
The hard-working, magnanamous father-figure. He does not require a lot of attention, but is able to delight palates of all ages and stages. He takes up an entire house with his delicious aroma and can stretch to feed a family for a week. He is never the center of attention, but he is not to be missed or overlooked.
Ah, short ribs. The can’t-pin-me-down rogue agent of the Slow-Cooked Beef family. He takes after his mother in his ability to equally make a weeknight dinner special or to delight fancy dinner party guests. However, he is a bit fancy like Beef Bourguinon because he is rich and indulgent and loves to be savored. At his core he is reasonable and easy to approach, like Beef Stew and Roast Beef Sliders, but he always brings his own flair when it comes to the flavor profile of his sauce (which happens to be his most attractive feature).
If you are familiar with all the beef characters, Short Ribs are going to make a lot of sense to you. But they are not redundant. They stand out in flavor from all the other characters. Same at the core, but different in finished product.
I developed this recipe to be easy enough for a weeknight dinner (I literally just made this for Monday night dinner), but with a sauce that is completely unique in flavor from any of my other slow-cooked-beef recipes.
Take the beefy bass notes of seared meat and sautéed carrots and onions, and combine them with a hint of brown sugar sweetness, the zest of tomato paste, the maturity of a bit of red wine, the heat of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, and a distinct yet undetectable punch from coffee. The sauce is sublime.
Short ribs cook low and slow, becoming delicate and tender, literally falling off the bone. They are an indulgence, best savored over a pool of cheese grits, parmesan polenta, or mashed potatoes.
Like all the other members of the beef family, their best characteristic is the way they improve with age. I always make these at least one day (or up to three!) in advance. Reheating dinner has never been easier or more delicious.
As an added real-world note, if you need to stretch this recipe to accommodate a crowd or, in my case, hungry teenagers, throw in a two to five-pound chuck roast. Sear it, and then add it to the sauce as written. More meat equals happy tummies and lots of leftovers.
I hope you enjoy!
- 5 pounds beef short ribs
- 1 pound carrots, large diced
- 1 bunch celery, large diced
- 2 onions, large diced
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6- oz can tomato paste
- 3.5- oz can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 2 cups red wine
- olive oil
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Lay the short ribs on a sheet tray and drizzle them with three tablespoons of olive oil, using your hands to evenly distribute the oil on all sides of the ribs. Sprinkle one side of the ribs with 2 teaspoons Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Flip all of the ribs and sprinkle them with an additional 2 teaspoons Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.Roast for 30 minutes until browned.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium high heat, heat 4 tablespoons oil. Add the carrots, celery, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and sauté until the vegetables are fully cooked and beginning to take on color. This may take 15 or more minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic and cook for one minute. Add the tomato paste, stirring to combine, and cook for one minute. Add the coffee, red wine, chilies in adobo sauce, thyme, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Once the ribs are finished roasting in the oven, add them to the pot, scraping any drippings from the pan. Cover the pot and cook for one hour.
- Uncover the pot and continue cooking for another hour, or until the ribs are tender and falling off of the bone. Serve with mashed potatoes, grits, or polenta.
If you want to stretch this recipe, you can add a whole chuck roast (2 to 5 pounds). Season it well with salt and pepper, and sear it on both sides in olive oil. Remove the seared roast from the pan, and then proceed with cooking the vegetables. Add the roast back to the pot when you add the short ribs and cook according to the recipe.