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Six-Spice Braised Short Ribs

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Serves six to eight.

  • To learn more, read:
    Spice Up Your Cooking
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 70

Time is the secret ingredient in these flavorful ribs. Be sure to leave enough time to marinate them in their spice paste for at least a day; then cook the ribs the day before serving.

  • 1/2 cup peeled, sliced fresh ginger (1/4 inch thick)
  • 8 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. coriander seeds, finely ground
  • 1 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground dried ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. whole allspice, finely ground
  • 3/4 tsp. black peppercorns, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves plucked from the stem and left whole (about 1 scant Tbs.)
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt; more as needed
  • 6 lb. bone-in beef short ribs (3 to 4 inches long)
  • 2 quarts homemade or low-salt beef or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In a blender, grind the fresh ginger, garlic, wine, and vinegar to a smooth paste. Add the coriander, paprika, cayenne, ground dried ginger, allspice, and black pepper; blend just to combine.

To bloom the spices, heat the canola oil in a heavy-based medium saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the spice paste and cook, stirring constantly and carefully (the mixture will bubble and splatter), until the paste is thick, very aromatic, and the oil separates out of the paste, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the spice paste cool.

When the spice paste is cool, stir in the ketchup, maple syrup, thyme, rosemary, and salt. Rub this paste over the ribs. Put the ribs in a nonreactive container, cover well, and refrigerate for at least one day and up to two days.

When ready to cook, put the ribs, the marinade, and the broth in a heavy-based 8-quart (or larger) pot over medium heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low or low, cover, and simmer until the meat is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 2-1/2  hours. Uncover and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Remove the ribs from the liquid and transfer them to a 9x13-inch Pyrex dish or other similar container. Cover with foil. Use a ladle to skim the fat (there will be a lot) from the braising liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, until the liquid reduces to about 4 cups and becomes a slightly thick, velvety sauce, about 45 minutes.

When ready to serve, return the ribs to the sauce and reheat briefly. Taste the sauce and add salt if  needed. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

This dish is best if the ribs are cooked the day before serving. Braise the ribs, reduce the sauce, and pour as much of the sauce over the ribs as will fit in the Pyrex dish and pour the remaining sauce into another container. Let cool uncovered at room temperature for 1 hour and then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to two days. When ready to serve, reheat the ribs and the sauce in a large pot over medium heat until the sauce is bubbling and the meat is warm all the way through.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the ribs and sauce over Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Warm Spices. A side of sautéed spinach or chard also pairs well.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 430; Fat (g): fat g 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 7; Protein (g): protein g 33; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 19; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 2110; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 80; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

This was fantastic. I've made braised short ribs before, but the flavour on these was outstanding. I didn't have an 8-quart pot, and split the ribs and broth into two separate pots, whick worked fine. I was a little concerned as I was making the rub that it would be too strong-flavoured - I had a couple of guests who are conservative in the culinary department - but the flavour was just fine. (Meat perhaps a touch salty, and I did use low-salt chicken broth - I like my food saltly, but next time I would cut back on the salt in the rub.) No matter what, the meal was amazing. As my Dad said, "This is the closest I’ve ever come to eating a fork."

I have been dreaming of short ribs for days and happily just realized that I added this recipe to my favorites when I made it for guests almost two years ago. I can still remember the flavors and cannot wait until this weekend when I will make it for guests again. Yummy comfort food deluxe.

This is THE meal for our dinner with my in-laws at Christmas time. The beef steals the show, not just from the creamy taters, but from the grand kids too! Sure to please a crowd, but make extra.

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