Short Ribs

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    3 pounds  bone-in short ribs, well marbled
    1 tablespoon  kosher salt
    2 teaspoons  freshly ground black pepper
    4 tablespoons  olive oil, separated
2 and 1/2 cups (~4 medium) carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 cup (~2 stalks)  celery, sliced
    1 cup  low-sodium beef broth, (or stock)
    2 tablespoons  Tuscan-Style Seasoning Blend SEE RECIPE NOTES
    1 tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
    1  bay leaf
    2 medium  yellow onions, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
    3 cloves  garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon  tomato paste
2 cups red wine Cabernet Sauvignon; OR you can substitute with additional beef stock, or grape, pomegranate, or cranberry juice
    2 tablespoons  cornstarch
    1/4 cup  water

Optional: fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, and/or rosemary

Tuscan-Style Seasoning Blend: COMBINE 3 tablespoons dried rosemary, 3 tablespoons dried oregano, 3 tablespoons dried basil, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried sage Whisk all of the ingredients together and add TWO tablespoons to this meal. Store the remaining in a mason jar in a cool, dry, dark place. (See post for ways to use the remaining seasoning blend)

Dab the short ribs with paper towel and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.
Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot) over medium-high heat. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches above the pot, place 3-4 short ribs (at a time) in the pot. Brown the pieces on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. (To get a good sear don't overcrowd the meat, you can sear the meat in batches). Use the additional 2 tablespoons of oil IF needed. Once the short ribs are nicely seared with a good crust, remove them from the pot and place it in your slow cooker. (Use a 5 quart or larger slow cooker). Add carrots, celery, beef broth, 2 tablespoons of Tuscan seasoning blend, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf on top.
Drain off all, except 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pot. Add in the onions and cook until the onions are translucent, 4 to 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine (or additional beef stock or juice). Deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula as it bubbles. Bring to a boil; cook 8-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half (you should have 1 cup liquid without the onions). Stir in the tomato paste. Pour the reduced liquid and onions into the slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 5-8 hours or until meat is tender. (4-5 hours on high, but low heat is recommended).
Remove ribs and vegetables to a serving dish, cover with foil to rest and keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan and skim the fat (see post for more direction on this). Discard bay leaf. Bring crockpot juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to a boil; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until thickened. If desired, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Serve gravy with ribs and vegetables. If desired, add some fresh herbs on top.

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