Ever thumbed through a magazine, caught a cooking segment, or bumped into a recipe online (Hiiiiiii!!) and realized with desperate urgency that I MUST MAKE THIS? That was me and these Red Wine Braised Short Ribs.
The only reason we still have cable is for the sake of The Food Network (I DVR Pioneer Woman and Barefoot Contessa) and ESPN (we both know that’s for Ben).
Between running this website and my love of reading cookbooks like novels (if you do it too, check out mine!), I absorb a lot of recipe content.
Thus, it is something special when one stops me in my tracks, sticks in my brain, and cannot be shaken until I’ve brought it to life.
Such is the case with today’s recipe.
I watched the Barefoot Contessa’s red wine braised short ribs in action and 24 hours later, we were sitting down to one of the most luxurious meals we’ve enjoyed at home in a good while.
Meaty beef short ribs that are seared, then slow simmered (a.k.a. “braised”) in a rich sauce until fall-apart tender, you can serve red wine braised short ribs with mashed potatoes (or Oven Roasted Potatoes), pasta, or over polenta.
Or, just stick a fork in the Dutch oven and praise yourself/thank the heavens that something this magnificent can be brought to life.
We enjoyed Ina’s version of short ribs, but as is my bossy way in the kitchen, I felt it could be improved.
- I wanted more vegetables to offset the richness of the meat and make the short ribs an all-in one meal.
- I ditched the leeks (because they are pricier and a pain to chop and wash) in favor of yellow onion, which provides the same aromatic complexity.
- Also, I ditched the bottle of stout beer. It’s not something I keep on hand, and I thought it was unnecessary to buy a whole pack for one recipe.
- I rarely say this about Barefoot Contessa (or Pioneer Woman) recipes, but I thought the short rib broth left me wanting…more. I turned to a few of my favorite tricks for building flavor: Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and tomato paste.
Ben will order short ribs 9 out of 10 times they are on a menu.
We agreed that, thanks to the rich broth and the fact that the short ribs are so tender you can cut them with a spoon, these were the best red wine braised short ribs we’ve ever had.
How to Make Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs
Braised short ribs are an ideal dish for a dinner party:
- You can cook them entirely the day before, then rewarm with good results. In fact they taste even better the next day.
- Short ribs are also a less expensive cut of beef compared to other cuts, so they are a budget-friendly way to feed a crowd.
- Because short ribs are high in fat content, you can’t overcook them. The longer you cook them, the more tender they become, which is a great stress reliever when you’re serving guests.
- Short Ribs. This tougher cut of beef breaks down and becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender when braised.
- Carrots. Making braised short ribs with carrots adds earthy sweetness, another dimension of texture, and healthy veggie benefits. They also make me think of my Grandma Dorothy’s pot roast in the most comforting way.
- Red Wine. We’re adding a full bottle to create the most complex, fully-flavored braising liquid.
- Celery. Adds freshness, crunch, and is a staple in creating sauces.
- Onion. I chose to use yellow onion instead of the commonly-used leek, as it’s more easily available to me (and easier to clean!).
- Tomato Paste. An easy way to achieve deep, simmered all day flavor.
- Beef Stock. Another secret to richly-flavored broth. You can use beef stock or chicken stock (I prefer beef stock for this recipe).
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes. Brings sweet and smoky flavor to the broth.
- Worcestershire. For a touch of umami.
- Dijon Mustard. The tanginess of Dijon mustard wakes up all the flavors in the broth. It doesn’t stick out on its own, but is one of the little details in this recipe that really adds up.
- Herbs. I used some fresh thyme, fresh parsley, and dried oregano to add herby flavor to the broth.
- Dry and season the ribs.
- Brown on all sides in batches.
- Sauté the vegetables until tender.
- Add the tomato paste and garlic.
- Pour in the wine and deglaze. Bring to a boil, then let simmer.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients (except the parsley).
- Return the short ribs to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then transfer the short ribs to the oven.
- Bake the red wine braised short ribs covered at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.
- Remove the lid, then bake for another hour. Transfer the short ribs to a plate. Remove any bones and the thyme bundle from the pot, then place the pot on the stove and let simmer.
- Skim the fat. Add the short ribs back to the pot. Top with fresh parsley and serve as desired. DIG IN!
How to Serve Beef Short Ribs
One of the stars of red wine braised short ribs is that gorgeous sauce.
Choose a pairing that will allow you to sop it up and enjoy the sauce as a part of the meal. Try your short ribs:
- With Mashed Potatoes. These Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes are my hands-down favorite and also great for a crowd.
- With Polenta. Creamy, comforting Parmesan polenta tucks perfectly beneath the rich, meaty short ribs. It’s a classic pairing you will often see at restaurants (try my Creamy Polenta with Zucchini and Tomatoes, omitting the summer vegetables).
- With Pasta. Wide, flat noodles such as pappardelle are our favorite. If possible, see if you can purchase fresh pasta from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. It’s worth it!
- With Bread. For mopping up every morsel! Try my No Knead Focaccia or pick up a crusty loaf from a bakery.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm short ribs in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Leftover short ribs make a fantastic sandwich filling (similar to this succulent Italian Beef), or use them as the base for shepherd’s pie.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
The Best Dutch Oven
A high-quality Dutch oven will cook beside you for a lifetime. It’s oven-safe, so you can use it for recipes like this one that need to be transferred from stovetop to oven and back again.
This recipe involves some up-front effort—chopping vegetables, searing the beef—but once it’s all in the Dutch oven (or slow cooker) you can largely forget about it…
…until the heavenly aroma of long-simmered meat bubbling away with red wine, garlic, and herbs draws you back into the kitchen that is!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make braised short ribs without red wine. Swap the red wine in this recipe for additional beef stock.
I developed these red-wine braised short ribs in a Dutch oven, but I believe the recipe could be easily adapted to the slow cooker. Instead of simmering the short ribs on the stove, transfer the short ribs and cooking liquid to a slow cooker. Slow cook on low for 6 hours or so (again, you can’t overdo it!). Remove the short ribs to a plate, transfer the cooking liquid to the stove, and simmer.
In addition to cooking the entire recipe up to 1 day in advance (it’s even better leftover!), you can also prep part of the ingredients ahead of time. Mince the garlic and chop the carrots and celery up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate each in separate airtight storage containers.
- 5 pounds meaty bone-in short ribs 1 1/2 inches or thicker
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 6 medium carrots chopped (about 3 cups)
- 4 ribs celery chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine such as Chianti, cabernet sauvignon, or Cotes de Rhone
- 4 cups beef stock or chicken stock plus more as needed
- 1 can (14-ounce) fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 6 springs fresh thyme tied into a bundle with kitchen string
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- mashed potatoes, cooked papardelle or similar pasta, roasted potatoes, or creamy polenta
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pat the short ribs dry, then season generously all over with 5 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy-bottomed, oven-safe pot with a cover (I used a 5.5-quart Dutch oven) over medium-high heat (you don’t need to add any oil). Add about half of the short ribs in a single layer, making sure they are not touching one another (if the pan is too crowded, they won’t brown properly). Sear on all sides until they are deeply browned, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer the short ribs to a large baking dish that can catch any juices. Repeat with remaining short ribs.
Carefully discard all but about 2 tablespoons fat from the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and add the carrots, celery, onion, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring every so often, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
Scoot the vegetables to one side to create an open space in the pan. Add the tomato paste and stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then stir the paste into the vegetables to combine. Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
Add the wine (be careful as it will splatter), and using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, scrape up any browned bits that have collected on the pan. Bring the wine to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer until the wine is reduced by approximately half, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the stock, tomatoes, Worcestershire, Dijon, thyme bundle, and oregano.
Nestle the short ribs into the pot, along with any cooking liquid that has collected in the pot.
Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil. Cover the pot then transfer to the oven.
Bake the short ribs in the oven, covered, for 1 hour.
Remove the lid, then continue baking, uncovered, for 1 hour more, until the meat is fall-apart tender.
With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the short ribs to a large plate. Check the pot for any bones that have separated from the meat and discard. Fish out and discard the thyme bundle.
Return the pot to the stove and bring the liquid to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
With a large spoon, skim off some of the fat from the sauce (you won’t be able to get it all; just spoon off what you can). Return the short ribs to the sauce and heat to warm through for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot with mashed potatoes or oven roasted potatoes, papardelle, or cooked polenta.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm short ribs in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving: 1of 6 (short ribs and all liquid/veggies)Calories: 708kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 59gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 168mgPotassium: 1677mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 10666IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 8mg
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