The trees are turning golden and scarlet, the air is finally cooler — cold on some days — and we are enjoying a beautiful fall here in Georgia. It seems natural when the days get shorter and cooler to want something filling and warm to eat. Comfort food comes in different versions for different people. Some people want sweets, some want mashed potatoes and some want a large glass of wine. Hmm. All of those are comforting to me — I’m not sure what that says about me!
The men in my household want meat — that’s their comfort food heaven. And beef short ribs is one of their favorite dishes. I buy the boneless short ribs at Costco. They are about 3″ long and some thick, some thin. You can use the shorter, bone-in short ribs also, and if you have a concern about missing flavor from the bone by using the boneless, then just throw a couple of beef bones in the pot.
This recipe is perfect when you are craving something hearty and yet easy to prepare. The wine and beef stock meld together with the vegetables to create a rich, sop-worthy sauce and the meat is fork-tender and beefy.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the ribs:
- 3-4 lbs beef short ribs (I usually use closer to 4 because that’s what comes in the pack that I buy)
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs – marjoram, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano (can use Italian seasoning)
For the sauce (I don’t actually measure these ingredients, just grab a couple onions, stalks of celery and 2 or 3 carrots and chop them, but if you need precise measurements here they are):
- 2 ½ cups chopped onion
- ¾ cup chopped celery
- ¾ cup chopped carrots
- 4 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of dried herbs, same as used with ribs
- 1 ½ cups good dry red wine
- 1 ½ cups beef stock
- 3 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat 2 tablespoons bacon grease or cooking oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season one side of ribs with half the salt, pepper and herbs.
Place the ribs in hot grease in small batches, careful not to overcrowd. Brown well on all sides and when you flip them, season the other side with remaining salt, pepper and herbs (ration out so that you cover all the ribs).
Remove ribs with a slotted spoon and place on a plate while you brown the rest. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat and add the vegetables, stirring over medium heat until they begin to color and are soft, about ten minutes.
Add the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Return the ribs to the pot along with any accumulated juices and add the bay leaves.
Cover the pot and bake in oven until the meat is fork-tender and pulls easily from the bone (if using bone-in), usually about 2-3 hours depending on how many ribs you are cooking. Remove ribs to a platter and skim off fat from surface of sauce. Boil sauce over high heat until reduced to a syrupy sauce.
Serve with mashed potatoes or rice or risotto or whatever you like. And some crusty bread — you won’t be able to resist sopping in the sauce, and really, why should you even try? Life is short. Sop your bread and be happy.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking.