Braised Beef Short Ribs

It’s a forgiving dish that calls for patience rather than precision. It’s also the ideal meal to make ahead of time, as it benefits greatly from a night’s rest. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and pan-roasted root.


6/8 short ribs of beef
2 sprigs of rosemary
6 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 celery stalk, halved
3 teaspoons sea ­salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 shallots, peeled and sliced 3mm thick
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons plain flour
125ml ruby port
1 litre full ­bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1.5 litres veal stock (Beef stock can be used as an alternative)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3.
  2. Cut in between each rib to make them individual.
  3. Place the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf between the two celery halves and bind with kitchen string.
  4. Season the ribs with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the pepper. Heat the oil in a large casserole over a high heat until it smokes. In two batches, brown the ribs well on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the ribs and set aside when done.
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the carrots, onion, shallots and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and light brown. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir well to combine. Add the port, red wine and the celery-herb bundle. Raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced by a third, about 20 minutes.
  6. Return the ribs to the pot (they will stack into two layers). Add the stock and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt; if the stock doesn’t cover the ribs by at least 2.5cm, add water up to that level. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover, transfer to the preheated oven, and cook for 3 hours. Visit the pot occasionally and stir the ribs, bringing the ones on the bottom up to the top. They’re done when the meat is fork tender and falling off the bone.
  7. Transfer the ribs to a large platter. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce and then strain through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Discard the solids. Over a medium heat, bring the sauce to a strong simmer and boil until slightly less then half (1 litre) remains, about 1 hour.
  8. Return the ribs to the pot, simmer for 10 minutes to reheat, then serve.
  9. Great served with normal or horseradish mash.
Adapted from the Balthazar Cook Book
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