Braised Beef Short Ribs: Braise Once, Eat Twice or More
Aaaand just like that, it’s braising season. Good, given I’ve been braising all summer long anyhow. I’m a big fan of batch cooking – cooking enough food to last a few meals – and there’s no better way to batch cook than to braise, no matter the season. Whether you cook low-and-slow in your oven or crock pot, or under pressure in a pressure cooker, it’s pure happiness to have a pile of tender, flavorful roast, ready for a couple of days of quick tacos, stir-fries, soups, salads, hashes, or sandwiches.I’ve posted other beef, pork, and chicken braises in the past, but this is the first time I’m raving about beef short ribs, which are my current favorite. I buy them on the bone so that the braising liquid is loaded with nutritious collagen. I keep the seasoning very basic – onion, garlic, and salt, just enough to really enhance the beefiness of the meat and broth. That way, I have the flexibility of adding Asian, Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern, etc. seasonings to the next go-round of dishes.I made this particular batch in an Instant Pot pressure cooker. It took an hour total, from browning the ribs to 35 minutes of pressure cooking. That’s it! I’m pretty smitten, I must say. I also use the Instant Pot to make chicken broth, a couple of batches in a row so I can load up my freezer. I’m not a big kitchen gadget fan, but this appliance is a winner.That said, on a chilly Sunday, it’s awfully nice to have a fragrant braise simmering in the oven. In that case, allow for 3 hours of cooking time. And if you’re in a good crock pot groove, well of course short ribs are beautifully suited for a welcome-home meal at the end of a long day. Add a salad and you’re ready for dinner in 15 minutes.For this round of short ribs, I ate them the first day alongside roasted cauliflower and a simple green salad. The second day I made a fast soup with the braising liquid, beef, roasted squash, and cabbage. The third day I made a brunch hash of beef, wild mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts. Who needs take out when they have braised beef in the fridge? Kablam.
Basic Braised Beef Short Ribs
Serves 4, twice
4 pounds (or more) beef short ribs
1 tablespoon beef fat, bacon fat, or avocado (or other vegetable) oil
1 onion, skin on, quartered
3 cloves garlic
Generously season ribs on all sides with salt.
If cooking ribs in the oven, preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat a Dutch oven and oil over medium-high heat. If cooking in a crock pot or pressure cooker, heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, brown ribs a few at a time (don’t crowd the pan), on all sides, until evenly and nicely browned. Transfer ribs to a plate as you go.
When all ribs are browned, place them back in Dutch oven or in crock pot or pressure cooker pot. Add onion, garlic, and 2 inches of water. For the oven method, bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, and transfer to the oven to cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender and falling off the bone. For the crock pot, cook on low for 8 hours or until very tender. For the Instant Pot, cook according to manufacturer’s instructions, usually 35 minutes.
When ribs are done, serve on the bone or pull meat from bones (discarding bones). Strain braising liquid and skim fat, reserving for cooking (store in a jar in the refrigerator). Season broth to taste and serve with ribs.
I spent Sunday afternoon at the Open Streets MPLS block party on Nicollet Avenue. What. A. Blast. From Lake Street south to 46th Street was blocked off from cars, leaving walkers and bikers free to meander, sample restaurant treats, listen to music, shop, and visit with friends.I confess I had to just watch my friends swoon over the fried chicken, hush puppies, and whole-hog pulled pork sandwiches at Corner Table, as well as the craft cocktails and arepas at Hola Arepa, but that’s OK. I did have a refreshing mocktail at Hola as well as a few bites of their absolutely delicious yucca fries. I had other plans on Sunday but I decided that being outside, in the sun, walking and talking with friends, was much more important than the show I was going to see. I have all damn winter to be indoors!
By the way I got home, pretty hungry after said walking and talking, and made myself a sweet little dish of sauteed chanterelle mushrooms – courtesy of my friend Kathy Yerich – with short ribs. You can imagine how decadent a bowl of warm beef and mushrooms tasted on a cool fall evening. Heaven.