Some things are simply worth time and effort. Slow-braised short ribs are one of those things. Take the time to properly brown the meat, as this builds flavor for the sauce.
The same is true of the vegetables, which are first sautéed and then browned with tomato paste before liquid is added in.
Don't try to rush the braising process. The meat is best when cooked in a very low oven.
Note: Serve the short ribs alongside sautéed spinach, roasted carrots or herb-roasted fingerlings. Or skip this type of plating entirely. Instead, pull the meat from the bones, shred it and return it to the sauce. Serve it atop pappardelle.
- 1 1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs (4 to 6 large ribs)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped large (about 2 cups)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium stalk celery, diced medium (about 1 cup)
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3/4 cup ruby port
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Combine porcini mushrooms and water in small bowl. Place a paper towel over the surface of the liquid to keep the mushrooms submerged. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, generously season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven medium high heat until whisps of smoke barely begin to show on the surface. Add beef and cook until well browned on all surfaces, 8 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.
Return Dutch oven to medium heat and heat butter until melted. Add carrots, onion, and celery and cook stirring, until softened and barely beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring continually, until tomato paste takes on a burnished hue and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.
Add port and red wine to pan, scraping off any browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, drain mushrooms through a strainer. Roughly chop the mushrooms, then add mushrooms and their liquid to the pot, along with chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and browned short ribs.
Return to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook until completely tender, about 3 hours. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme. Remove meat from bones, and discard bones. Skim fat from top of sauce. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat and cook until reduced to a sauce-like, mildly thickened consistency, about 5 minutes. Return meat to the pan, season to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve immediately. (See note for serving suggestions).
Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot