Greetings, I’m PJ Mullen and I’m honored to be the newest contributor here at Digital Dads. I am a stay at home dad to two, a husband, amateur chef and prolific air drummer. I’ll be coming to you each Thursday talking about being a dad and, of course, food, which I believe is the great connector.
With the football season in full swing I thought I’d kick things off with something that can be prepared in advance and cooked while you’re busy watching your favorite team. By the time you’re ready to celebrate victory (or drown your sorrows) with beefy goodness, these short ribs will be ready to serve.
Since my college days the Super Bowl has been a holiday for a close group of my friends. Some of my fraternity brothers have been running an annual “Big Sangwich” competition since before I was initiated. I was fortunate enough to join the fray after becoming a brother.
Over the years between job changes, moving in and out of the Boston area, marriages and kids we’ve tried to stick as close as we can to maintaining our tradition. However, one year we deviated from the plan as we sought out a more rustic menu that ultimately included a braised beef short ribs that I had been testing.
There is something magical about transforming an inexpensive cut of meat into one of the most delicious things you’ve ever tasted in your life. They fall right off the bone and the braising liquid is easily reduced into a sauce that would taste good on a car bumper.
This dish is so powerful that I even taught my wife’s best friend how to make them for a guy she had just started dating. While I would never be so bold as to imply these short ribs have other worldly powers, let’s just say they are already talking marriage. Yeah, they are that good.
Serve these up at your next Super Bowl party and just watch as your friends petition the NFL to rename the Lombardi after you.
Braised Beef Short Ribs
1 large sweet or yellow onion, chopped roughly
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, washed and chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 ginger root, peeled and sliced
1-2 lemongrass stalks, crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3-4 pounds beef short ribs
Salt, pepper to taste
All purpose flour (to coat short ribs)
1 cup beef broth or stock
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
½ bottle of red wine (Barolo or Merlot are nice options)
- Unpack, wash and pat dry the short ribs
- Apply salt, pepper and coat lightly with flour to the ribs and set aside until they reach room temperature
- Chop all the aromatics, set aside
- Add oil to a heavy bottomed pan (if using a slow cooker) or dutch oven
- When the oil is heated sear the short ribs in batches, set aside
- Add all of the aromatics to the pan or dutch oven when finished searing ribs
- Season with salt and pepper, add additional olive oil, if necessary
- When the aromatics are translucent, about five minutes, add tomato paste
- Add half of the beef broth to thin out the aromatic and tomato paste mixture
- Add the brown sugar and cook for another three to five minutes
- If using a dutch oven, add the short ribs back and any juices
- If using a slow cooker, add the short ribs and the pan full of aromatics to the slow cooker
- Add the remaining beef broth, crushed tomatoes and red wine
- If using a dutch oven, bring contents to a rolling simmer on high and transfer to a 350 degree oven for three hours
- If using a slow cooker, set the timer for six hours
When the short ribs are finished cooking ladle about half of the braising liquid into a fat separator or a large measuring cup and strain off the fat. Put the strained braising liquid into a 2 or 3 quart saucepan and turn the heat to high. Reduce the braising liquid by half to two thirds depending on how thick of a sauce you prefer. Depending on your stove this could take thirty to forty five minutes. Alternatively, to shorten the time to completing the sauce you can add a cornstarch slurry (1 part cornstarch/4 parts water) to the reducing braising liquid to thicken it up faster.
Whenever I make these short ribs I like to serve them piled high on some Parmesan herb polenta. The creaminess of the polenta provides a nice canvas for the short ribs and the rich sauce.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have any leftovers (inconceivable!), you can try your hand at my braised short rib ravioli recipe. They are actually much easier than they sound and, if you’ve got a Italian specialty store near you that sells fresh pasta, you can buy pasta sheets as a short cut to reduce prep time.
If you give this, or anything else here, a try we’d love for you to drop us a comment and tell us how you liked it, or what you did differently to suit your tastes.