I’m sure you’ve heard of beef short ribs before. Maybe you’ve even eaten them. But do you know what they are?
Take a moment to feel your own rib cage. Notice how the lower ribs are much shorter than the ones towards your chest and neck? The same holds true for cattle. The ribs–the last five, to be specific–are really too short to cut steaks from, so when a primal is cut down, those short ribs go with the chuck and not with the ribs.
Compared to say a T-Bone, there is very little meat on the short ribs. But the flavor? The flavor is like taking the best marbled parts of the rib meat and mixing it with the beefier flavor of the chuck.
When deciding how to cook short ribs, what you need is a method that will slowly break down the collagen, yielding a silky sauce and fall-apart tender meat. We’re talking braised. Braised is a low-heat, moist cooking method that takes some time.
Fortunately for us these days, we’ve seen a resurgence in popularity of the pressure cooker. Newer stove top and electric models, including the very popular Instant Pot, have so many built-in safety features that you need not approach cooking in a pressure cooker with the sense of dread you may have had when pondering using your grandmother’s old model.
With modern pressure cooking technology, you can enjoy meltingly tender short ribs in a mere 40 minutes of pressure cooking. Given the time, your short ribs will be even more delicious if you can let them cool in the cooking liquid, refrigerate overnight, and then reheat the next day.
And if you don’t happen to have an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, you can make these wine-braised short ribs in a Dutch oven or in your slow cooker and those instructions are included as well. We have also included instructions if you would like to prepaire the ribs a day ahead and then complete the dish for serving the following day.
Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Mushrooms
This recipe uses every flavor building trick in the book to make this this short rib dish as lip-smacking and flavorful as possible. Present the meat on the bone or off. Either way, this meal is just as at home on your weeknight dinner table as it is on your dinner party menu.
- 3 pounds short ribs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons bacon fat or vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 large or two medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, caps sliced and stems whole (optional)
- 3 sprigs Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, leaves and stems included
- 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano, or 2 teaspoons your favorite Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon high quality fish sauce (optional)
- ½ bottle dry red wine
- 2 cups beef stock or water
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, including the juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (optional)
- Pappardelle Pasta
- Fresh shaved Parmesan Cheese
- Liberally season your short ribs with salt and pepper.
- With your Instant Pot on the Saute setting, add the bacon fat or oil, and brown the short ribs in batches on all sides until nicely caramelized. Reserve the short ribs on a plate until all are browned.
- Pour off all but about 2 Tablespoons of the remaining fat. Saute the mirepoix (onions, celery, and carrots) along with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
- Add the garlic and the mushrooms, including the whole stems. You’ll be pulling these out because they are too woody to eat, but for now, they will lend more flavor to your sauce.
- Saute until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and it has evaporated.
- Add the parsley sprigs, the dried spices, Worcestershire and fish sauce.
- Cook and stir for a few seconds and then pour in the wine to deglaze. Stir up all the lovely browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock and the tomatoes.
- Return the browned short ribs to the pan and nestle them down into the sauce.
- Put the lid on your Instant Pot, make sure the vent is set to “Sealing” and pressure cook on the Meat setting for 40 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally, about 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Remove the ribs to a plate and cover with foil. Strain out the sauce into a bowl or pan large enough to hold the ribs, pressing down on the solids. They have given their all, so compost or discard them.
- If you are planning to chill your ribs overnight, go ahead and put the ribs back into the sauce. Cool, cover, and chill overnight. If you are planning on serving your short ribs the same day, use a fat separator to remove most of the fat from the sauce and proceed with step 13.
- The next day, you will find that all the fat has solidified in a raft on top of the sauce. Remove as much of that fat as you can. Reheat the short ribs and the sauce. Once the sauce has thinned out from heating, remove the meat to a plate. You may choose to leave the meat on the bone or not.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce slightly. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If you would like a thicker sauce, stir the cornstarch and cold water or stock together into a slurry and add to the pan. Bring to a boil so the sauce thickens. Conversely, you can reduce the sauce by about half and then taste and adjust seasonings.
- Stir the meat back into the sauce and heat through. Serve with pasta, rice, or polenta.
- Pictured with shaved Parmesan & Pappardelle pasta, available at The Butcher’s Market.
Slow Cooker Directions
Follow Steps 1-7 using a large, heavy-bottomed pot. After deglazing with the wine, pour everything into your slow cooker and add the beef stock and tomatoes. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Proceed with Step 10.
Dutch Oven Directions
Follow Steps 1-7 using a 6-quart Dutch oven. After adding the beef stock and tomatoes to the pot, bring to a high simmer on the stove. Cover and put in a pre-heated 200F oven and cook until the meat is very tender, about 6 hours. I often do this overnight, chill the next morning and then reheat that evening.