As the months nudge into winter, it's time to dust down the dutch oven, and think long, slow, hearty and wholesome cooking. And what better dish to warm you up than homemade braised short ribs? Discover how to make the ultimate comfort food in three easy video recipes below.
Braised short ribs are full of flavour, and a match made in heaven slow-cooked in a rich red wine until the meat is pull-apart tender and falls off the bone.
It's the perfect family winter warmer, which largely takes care of itself. As Wolfgang Puck says, it's easier to do than you think.
What are braised short ribs?
Braising is a great cooking technique for locking in flavour and tenderising, especially when using cheaper cuts of meat. First the meat is browned in fat such as butter or olive oil, then it's immersed in a liquid, such as broth, wine or stock, covered and cooked on low heat for a long time, until fall-apart tender.
Which ribs should I use?
Short beef ribs cut from the chuck or the plate are most common. They're more economical than a steak, and tastier. The bone and fat imparts flavour and gives it a unique intensity.
Ribs can also be cut 'English style', which are good for braising and slow cooking. Whereas the 'flanken' style cut is good for marinating and grilling - perfect for Korean-style short ribs.
Braised short ribs are all about depth of flavour, tenderness and ease of cooking.
Once you've browned the ribs, the hard work is done. Then it's all about leaving the oven to work its magic in a one-pot-stop as the ribs enjoy a flavourful bath of red wine, herbs and vegetables.
There are various small recipe nuances you can add depending on your preferred recipe, like marinading the meat beforehand, reducing the sauce afterwards, and even adding a crunchy bacon pancetta garnish to serve.
As always, there's no better way to learn than in the capable hands of seasoned professionals. We've enlisted the help of culinary trio, Wolfgang Puck, Ina Garten and Gordon Ramsayto guide us through the ultimate braise, each with their own flavourful spin.
Basic ingredients for homemade braised short ribs:
Fresh Woody Herbs
Cabernet Braised Short Ribs by Wolfgang Puck
First up, take a look at Austrian-born, US chef Wolfgang Puck as he walks us through his favourite lazy Sunday dish in this easy video recipe below.
First he marinades the ribs in red wine with vegetables, garlic and fresh herbs for six hours. Then he browns the ribs in a smoking-hot pan until caramelised, and removes. Next he browns the veg to add extra flavour, and then adds them along with the marinade liquid and browned ribs to the pot, covers, and puts it in the oven for two and a half hours. When the ribs fall apart, you know it's done. Puck serves his braised ribs with mashed potatoes.
Slow-Cooked Beef Short Ribs by Gordon Ramsay
Next up is UK chef Gordon Ramsay with his amazing beef short ribs with bacon and mushrooms. He takes things up a gear by making a pancetta and mushroom garnish.
He starts by searing the seasoned beef short ribs in a hot pan to get that dark rich colour, he then adds a whole head of garlic sliced in half, a teaspoon of tomato puree and, once cooked out, red wine. When the wine is reduced, and the flavour concentrated, he adds beef stock up to an inch underneath the ribs, brings up to the boil again, covers, and pops in the oven for two and a half hours.
Here's the twist... he then reduces the sauce to concentrate those deep flavours even further, and glazes each rib individually before topping off with a garnish of crisp-fried lardons and chestnut mushrooms with fresh flat leafed parsley.
Ina Garten's Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs
And finally, Ina Garten cooks up one of her all time favourites: red wine braised short ribs with blue cheese grits or mashed potatoes.
If like Ina Garten you try to avoid pan-searing for the oil spattering mess it creates, this is the recipe for you.
Instead of pan-searing, she oven roasts the ribs for 20 minutes on a sheet pan brushed with oil and sprinkled with salt and plenty of pepper, until brown.
She then sautées leeks, celery, carrots, onions and garlic on the stove until tender before adding her secret weapon - a whole bottle of cote du rhone - and then simmering. Finally, she adds beef stock and a can of crushed tomatoes followed by a bottle of Irish stout beer.
Before it all goes in the oven, she adds some sprigs of thyme, the short ribs and the juices from the oven pan, and seasons generously. Next she brings everything to a boil and covers.
Garten's technique differs in that she puts the stew in oven for one hour, then removes the lid and cooks for another hour. Finally, she removes the ribs and thyme and reduces the sauce while skimming fat, before returning the ribs to warm through before serving up in a very rich sauce. Delicious.
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