Rib of the Week: Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine

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This is my take on classic boeuf Bourguignon, a traditional French dish of beef braised in Burgundy wine, then garnished with mushrooms and small white onions.

(Wine not your thing? Try my Guinness-Braised Short Ribs instead, which tastes amazingly just like French onion soup.)

For this dish, the meat is infused with a fragrant combination of jammy red wine, garlic, lavender, bay leaf, and rosemary. Three hours of slow cooking produce wonderfully mellow and complex flavors—and fall-off-the-bone, fork-tender meat.

Serve with a simple green salad and creamy, garlic mashed potatoes. And, of course, a few glasses of red wine.

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine: What kind of wine should I use?

Use any kind of red wine for this recipe, but be sure that you use a wine that you really like. For mine, I really like to use any robust wine from southern France.

Cooking will only concentrate the flavor of the wine. This is important, because if you don’t like to drink it, chance are you won’t like to eat it, either.

Help! What if I don’t like the wine I picked, after all?

After you’ve gone through the time and trouble of braising your short ribs, what do you do if you find that you don’t like the wine you used?

Don’t freak out. There’s likely a way that you can temper the flavors. Here are a few ideas.

You can try softening the flavor of the broth by adding a tablespoon or two of butter. You can also try adding a teaspoon or two of raspberry jam or red currant jelly. This can sweeten it up and help balance out any astringency.

Worse comes to worse, you can try diluting the flavor with some beef stock.

Wait, where do I get lavender?

Lavender is used a lot in Provencal cooking. Small amounts of lavender in dishes like this blend in and contribute to the complexity of the flavor.

Make sure you buy lavender that’s meant to be used in cooking. Some lavender (i.e. from craft stores) might be treated chemically, etc.

You can also order a 4-oz. bag from Penzey’s for about $8.95.

Recipe: Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine

2 Tbls. olive oil
2 1/2 lbs. beef short ribs (about 4-6 ribs, depending on their size)
kosher salt
3 cups red wine
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 Tbls. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. lavender
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
freshly cracked black pepper

Serves 2 generously for dinner.

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine: Sear the short ribs on all sides

Put the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Set the pot on the stove over medium-high heat.

Grab your short ribs.

Sprinkle the ribs with kosher salt to taste.

Carefully put the ribs in hot pot.

Your goal is to sear them and develop a nice brown crust on all sides of the short ribs.

When the ribs look about like this on the bottom, flip them over.

Be sure to get all sides, even the ends. Just stand them up and prop them against the side of the pot.

While the short ribs are searing, chop up the onion and celery. I didn’t include them in this recipe, but you certainly could toss in a handful of chopped carrots as well.

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine: Add the wine and veggies

When the ribs are browned on all sides, scoot them over to one side of the pot. If you like, pour off some of the rendered fat at this point. Keep the heat on medium high, unless your pot is smoking (then turn the heat down a bit).

Toss the veggies into the spot you cleared. Stir them around and let them soften up for a minute or two and begin to brown.

Scrape at the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits (the veggies should give off enough liquid to deglaze the pot.)

Arrange the ribs in the pot and distribute the veggies around them.

Pour in the wine.

When the wine is in the pot, raise the heat to high to bring the it up to a boil.

Toss in the garlic powder, bay leaf, rosemary, lavender, and black pepper.

Give the pot a stir to combine them with the wine.

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine: Simmer the short ribs

When the wine is boiling, drop the heat to low. Cover your pot with a tightly fitting lid.

Check it after 20 minutes or so. Your goal is to keep the wine just bubbling�not boiling hard. Adjust the heat up or down as necessary.

Simmer the short ribs like this, covered, for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender and falling off the bone.

After about 3 hours, my pot looked like this:

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine: Serve and enjoy!

To serve, transfer the short ribs to deep plates or shallow bowls. Skim any fat off the broth if necessary and discard. Ladle broth over the ribs.

Serve with a simple green salad and creamy, garlic mashed potatoes.


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  1. Doug--Fabulous tip. :D Didn't check, but I'm guessing Whole Foods might be a safe bet for the lavender, too. Gail--Hehehe :D Hooray for marbling! Cheers! +Jessie
  2. Thanks, guys! :D Chou--I'm with you. Braising is like magic. I mean, take a tough piece of meat and turn it into succulent deliciousness? Yes, please! :D +Jessie
  3. excellent stuff! this looks really yummy, i love anything that's cooked in red wine :P The photos are lovely Jessie , I'm especially loving the one with the wine being poured -all the bubbles :)
  4. "These look lovely. I’m fascinated by the metamorphosis of short ribs from low end to high end food" Yes, too bad their price made the same metamorphosis! ;) There is an interesting chapter on short ribs in Bill Buford's "Heat".
  5. This was amazing. I used a mix of merlot/sauvignon blanc/Cabernet Franc for the wine. Came out perfect. Didn't take as long to cook as listed in recipe, but I set the temp a bit too high for a while. Served this along with some broccoli and creme fraiche/gruyere/garlic mashed potatoes.
  6. Loved this recipe, flavour was fantastic and now I am going to experiment a bit. I was given a beef heart and had no idea what to do with it so I have used this recipe. It's simmering away on the stove right now. Will let you know how it turns out. Crossing my fingers.