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Tuscan Braised Short Ribs

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Serves six.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 103

Pair these tender short ribs with creamy polenta enhanced with a bit of Parmigiano to catch all of the gravy. Customize your own braised short ribs with the Recipe Maker

  • 4-1/2 to 5 lb. English-style beef short ribs (8 to 12 ribs)
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup medium-diced carrots
  • 2/3 cup medium-diced onions
  • 2/3 cup medium-diced fennel
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 to 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 to 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. minced anchovies
  • 1-1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt beef broth
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. In an 8-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Season the ribs with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Add half of the ribs to the pot (or as many as will fit without overlap), and cook, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a platter and repeat with the remaining ribs. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the pan.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, carrots, onions, and fennel to the pan. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic, paprika, coriander, and anchovies, and cook, stirring, until well distributed and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour 1/2 cup of the red wine into the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, until the liquid is reduced to about 2 Tbs., about 1 minute.
Transfer all the ribs (and any juices that have accumulated) back into the pot. Pour 1-1/2 cups water, the tomatoes, beef broth, and remaining 1/2 cup red wine over the ribs and using tongs, arrange the ribs as evenly as possible and no more than two layers deep.

Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and put the pot in the oven. Cook, turning the ribs with tongs about every 40 minutes, until they are fork tender, about 2-3/4 hours. (The meat may fall off most of the bones about midway through cooking; this does not mean that the ribs are fully tender.)

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the ribs with the sauce spooned over, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Make Ahead Tips

It's best to braise short ribs a day (or at least several hours) ahead for a couple of reasons. First, this allows you to chill the sauce so it can be defatted thoroughly. Also, the flavors only get better with time. To reheat, arrange the meat snugly in a baking dish, cover with foil, and put in a 350°F oven. Reheat the sauce on the stovetop.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 450; Fat (g): fat g 25; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 35; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 630; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 85; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Fabulous recipe! As others did I sub'd smoked Paprika for regular, used beef stock in place of the water. Served it with mashed cauliflower and roasted brussel sprouts - yum!!

Tasty and easy, but while there was no fat to skim off after searing the ribs, there was really a ton of fat in the final dish. We happily ate it anyway, but after a night in the fridge I lifted a ton of white fat off of the top of the dish and felt pretty guilty. Maybe next time I'll try trimming the fat off the ribs before cooking.

Excellent. I used a parchment cover on top of the braise (under the Dutch oven cover) and braised at 300. I find lower and slower is better for braising. I also used about 1 Tbs tomato paste along with anchovies, and followed the others with smoked paprika. If I've had better short ribs, I don't remember them. Make this recipe!

Very good and very tender! Made this with the spicy beans and sweet corn, melt in your mouth meal!

I made this as the main course for our dinner club, which has four couples in it. I served it over parmasan polenta, everyone loved it. The nice thing was that I could put it in the oven and forget it while preparing the rest of the meal. I didn't make any adjustments to the published recipe.

Outstanding recipe. I altered the recipe a bit. Used smoked spanish paprika. Strongly suggest spanish smoked paprika. Also, used more wine and beef stock instead of water.

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