Balsamic and Beer-Braised Short Ribs

On October 30th of this year, Hurricane Sandy cancelled plans I’d had on the calendar for several months prior, plans I’d been eagerly anticipating. But no, Sandy had other ideas for my evening. Like sitting at home and feeling cranky.

Overall, Matt and I got so lucky during the superstorm, so if this is the worst that happened, I really can’t complain. But Sandy did force Deb Perelman of the Smitten Kitchen food blog to cancel her book launch party in midtown Manhattan. She was scheduled to be signing copies of her brand new cookbook at a Williams-Sonoma store, but the event had to be called off since no one could really get there safely.

The next day, I went out and bought the book anyway. This was the first recipe I tried. It is so delicious. I mean, it’s short ribs, what could be wrong with that? Recipe is easy to follow and turns out spectacular results. If I have one tiny complaint, and I really wouldn’t even call it a complaint, more just a slight difference of preference, it’s that I would have reduced my braising liquid to a thicker consistency. I happen to like the lacquered thing going on with my short ribs, whereas this recipe is written for more of a concentrated, liquid-y sauce going over the meat. And saucy meat is perfectly wonderful.

The book calls for pairing a parsnip puree with the short ribs, which I did. I didn’t get great pictures of the parsnips, so that won’t be included in this post. But I do love her classic idea of pairing the rich, meaty short ribs with a starchy pureed veg. It’s something that works every time. Mashed potatoes would be excellent here too.

As an aside, Matt and I disagree about parsnips. He absolutely loves them and could inhale an entire bowl of parsnip puree on its own. I’m not nearly as wild about them. I do like them, but only when accompanied by a rich meat or poultry over top. I sort of think parsnip puree tastes like someone put ketchup in the mashed potatoes. And since I’m over the age of seven, that’s not something that appeals to me. I digress. Enjoy these short ribs, they are divine.

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman

5 lbs. bone-in short ribs, at room temperature, trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 bottles (24 oz. total) dark beer, such as black lager
2 to 3 cups beef stock

Season the short ribs generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat, and add olive oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, brown the short ribs on all sides, in batches. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Once all the ribs are browned, turn your heat down to medium-high and pour off all but one tablespoon of fat. Add the onion, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook until softened and lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and saute 3 more minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes, until thickened. Now add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and beer, scraping all the yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Return the browned ribs to the pot; try to place them in meatiest sides down. If not all will fit this way, put some in standing on their sides with the bones facing vertical. Add enough stock just to cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then turn off heat. Cover the pot tightly with foil, then with the pot’s lid.
Bake for 3 hours, or until the meat can easily be pierced with a knife, or pieces can be torn back with a fork. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes, uncovered. Skim as much fat as possible off the top.
Preheat your oven to 420 F. Remove ribs from the braise and spread them out on a baking sheet (I greased mine with cooking spray first). Roast for 15 minutes, or until the edges start to crisp. Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid into a saucepan and simmer it over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, longer if you want a thicker glaze.
To serve, place a mound of parsnip puree on your plate, then top with 1-2 short ribs and ladle with sauce.

12 responses to “Balsamic and Beer-Braised Short Ribs

  1. I made this recipe. Oh my God! It is so good. I’ve shared it with some many friends. And it is so simple. Cheers!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks so much! I just love this dish, it was actually our Christmas dinner and our company went nuts over it. So delicious! I’m glad you and your friends enjoyed it so much.

  2. This was our dinner last night – delicious
    ! Thanks so much!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Hi Linda, thanks so much for letting me know! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, we love this dish too. 🙂

      • Thanks for your reply! Super delicious, just shared it with my sister in Florida as well as on my FB page. I live in Louisiana, sister state to Texas. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes now that I’ve found you!

        • Thanks so much! My mom and her family, going back quite a few generations, are from Louisiana, so I’m quite a fan of the Cajun/Creole and other Louisiana dishes. I spent a LOT of time around Alexandria growing up, and of course when I got to college and beyond I graduated to visiting NOLA. 🙂

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  4. Made this for my family of 5, everyone loved it. I added a TON of mushrooms because we enjoy them, but other than that it was the same. Thanks for a great starting off point.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed this – we love it too. I hadn’t thought to add mushrooms, but what a fantastic idea! That sounds delicious. I’ll have to try that. 🙂

    • Oh man, I was so tempted to add mushrooms, too! But I figured they’d come out in the straining. How did you do it?

      Maybe next time I won’t strain and will just reduce the entire braise mixture into a sauce…

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