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Dan Barber's Braised Short Ribs

January 14, 2011 • 75 Comments

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Dan Barber's Braised Short Ribs

- Amanda

One evening, not long after I was married, my husband Tad and I hosted a dinner party at our apartment. I pulled one of my usual tricks back then, which was to cook five entirely new dishes rather than hedge my bets with a few known winners. This approach to a dinner party has guaranteed results, but not of the sort you wish for. You end up flubbing at least 40% of the menu. You sit with a furrowed brow throughout the meal. You nearly end your marriage before the guests arrive. And if you do this repeatedly, you are sure to live a shorter life.

This time, on top of my novelty menu “strategy,” I layered another fatal tactic: I invited a chef to the dinner. Dan Barber, an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, wrote for me at the Times, and since I knew that chefs’ biggest complaint was that no one ever cooked for them, I thought it would be a good idea to have him over for a dinner party.

The day of the party, I thought I’d “wing” making short ribs, which I’d never cooked before. For reasons I will never understand, I floured the short ribs before browning them, which later created a horridly gooey coating once they were braising. I also failed to add enough liquid to the braising pan and did not allow enough time for the meat to get tender.

By the time the guests arrived, I looked like a nervous and harried rabbit, dashing around my kitchen, awaiting the next disaster. Unsure if dinner would ever be ready, I pulled Dan aside and confessed.

Dan hopped into the kitchen, waved his skilled hand over the short ribs -- at least, that’s how I remember it -- and managed to make them edible.

A few weeks later, I asked him if he’d teach me how to properly braise a short rib. I spent a morning with him in Blue Hill’s kitchen on Washington Place.

Now I know how to braise. But I’m not sure Dan will ever come to one of my parties again.

Dan Barber’s Braised Short Ribs

Serves 4 to 6

  • 5 pounds beef short ribs, bone on
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (I like a coarse grind)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin left on
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate (comes in a jar; slightly thicker than ketchup) or paste (comes in a block)
  • 2 fresh (or dry) bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup Madeira
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken broth

 

1. Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the oil, then the short ribs (add them in batches, if necessary) and brown on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate as they finish browning. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.

2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are soft and all the browned bits in the base of the pot have been loosened. Put the short ribs (and any juices that have collected on the plate) back in the pot.

3. Add the light brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tamarind paste, and bay leaves. Pour in the Madeira and red wine. Add enough chicken broth to just cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven.

4. Braise the shortribs until they are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 4 hours (longer if the short ribs are big). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shortribs to a plate. Let the cooking liquid settle; spoon off as much fat as possible (ideally, you'd do this over the course of two days and would, at this point, put the liquid in the fridge overnight and peel off the layer of fat in the morning). Set the pot on the stove over medium high heat. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and reduce to a syrupy consistency.

5. Lay a short rib or two in each of 4 wide shallow bowls. Spoon over a little sauce. Serve proudly.

Jump to Comments (75)

Comments (75)

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Lemon_head

almost 2 years ago BonPierce

ChickenX2~ Together. Then I slowly warm the whole pot up on the stove together.
Next I remove the meat to a plate and do the old trick of thickening the sauce with cornstarch and water. I like it to be more "gravy" like. Plate the meat and gravy boat the sauce.

Kate_crop

almost 2 years ago chickenX2

Thanks -- I like the slurry idea -- the sauce is more of a jus at this point, and I want some gravy!

Kate_crop

almost 2 years ago chickenX2

When you make these in advance, do you keep the meat and sauce separate in the fridge, or keep them together? I've already defatted with a fat separator....Thanks!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I keep them together.

Cathybarrow_allrecipes_%c2%a9_2014

about 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

With Hurricane Irene approaching, I looked in my freezer and the only thing that would break my heart should power go out were two packages of gorgeous short ribs. This recipe was a wonderful way to use them, and so hands off, I was able to do all my other hurricane prep while they braised away. Now, tummies full of this satisfying dish, we're ready to face the storm. Thanks, Amanda!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you -- love hurricane-tested recipes!

Lemon_head

over 3 years ago BonPierce

Made these first time for company. I like to live on the edge too.

They were fantastic! Didn't change a thing except that I couldn't get the ribs as one piece. I got the bone in short ribs at the market. Worked great! Might make them again this weekend. So good!!!

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over 3 years ago phyllis

I cooked this recipe last Thursday for dinner Saturday night. It was delicious; the whole family loved it. After I degreased, I reheated by bringing the liquid to a boil, added the short ribs, and then put the pot in the oven at 275. Once reheated, I took out short ribs, kept them warm, and boiled down the sauce. The sauce was a little bitter from the tamarind, so I added a little more brown sugar. Wonderful meal.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for the follow-up!

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over 3 years ago HeatherM

Can't find this in the recipe section to bookmark! Please add. :)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Here's the link! http://www.food52.com/recipes...

Claire

almost 4 years ago midnitechef

When the in-laws come visit I always start getting creative in the kitchen. Unless it's baked goods I do it all blind, no recipes, just by feel and smell. They are always facinated at the combinations I come up with, I need to record myself next time just to remember what I did right!
Short ribs sound like a great idea, especially in winter.

Comic_con_cropped

almost 4 years ago johnandrewwalsh

Awesome story. The tamarind is such a great idea too!
Hey, can you answer an idiot question? If you go the two-day route, and reheat the sauce after peeling off the congealed fat, how do you reheat the short ribs? In the sauce on the stove top? Or wrapped in foil in a slow oven? Thanks!

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almost 4 years ago phyllis

I do the 2-day route almost each time I braise. I reheat the meat in the liquid. I degrease and bring the liquid to a simmer, and then add the meat.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I like the 2-day method as well. Reheating in the oven, with the meat in its liquid and the dish covered, works best.

Comic_con_cropped

almost 4 years ago johnandrewwalsh

So, just the little bit of liquid that was with the meat in the fridge? Or some from the Dutch oven? Or can I put the meat in the Dutch oven and reheat the whole thing in the oven at 225? I'm frustratingly dense, I know. Thanks for your help, both of you!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Sorry, glad you asked that. I wouldn't reduce the sauce until the next day. So braise one day. Refrigerate. Spoon off and discard the fat. Reheat, covered in a low (225 degree) oven. Remove the short ribs to a plate, then boil down the cooking liquid to a sauce.

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almost 4 years ago phyllis

Amanda's instructions are right on. Sometimes I do day 2 on the stovetop. All of the same instructions. Put the short ribs in pot with braising liquid, simmer, remove meat, and reduce sauce. I have a really good stove and can control the burner heat. If you don't have good control, use the oven method. Enjoy.

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almost 4 years ago johnandrewwalsh

On behalf of myself and my friends who soon will enjoy this meal, thank you for your answers!

P1020611

almost 4 years ago mariaraynal

Grand story. Totally funny and shows courage and character to boot!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, Maria -- Dan was very kind!

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almost 4 years ago FeastontheCheap

It's somehow so reassuring to read that even the most masterful kitchen whizzes suffer through their fair share of failures... These look terrific - and I'm sure your "flub" was better than most!

Bw_kitchen_4

almost 4 years ago Chef Tom Minchella

Awesome!!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks!

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almost 4 years ago AmyMtl

I recently made the Dijon and Cognac beef stew from Amanda's new book and it had me flour the meat and then brown it. Okay for stew, not for ribs? I was afraid that the bits on the bottom were heading towards burnt rather than brown, but the sauce was think and lovely in the end.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great question -- it used to be a common technique with stews, for thickening the sauce. With braises I like a cleaner reduced sauce, so flouring the meat is unnecessary.

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almost 4 years ago phyllis

I agree with amanda. I always flour and brown for stew. For short ribs, it depends on the delicacy of the sauce. I make one with citrus, and I don't flour and brown for that recipe.

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almost 4 years ago AmyMtl

Thanks! Good to know. We LOVED the stew, btw.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Oh good -- I love that recipe, too!

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almost 4 years ago BiCoastalCook

The late lamented Laurie Colwin, in her wonderful book "Home Cooking," writes about dinner disasters in the essay "Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir." This is required reading for anyone recovering from near-terminal dinner party embarrassments. Come to think of it, anything that Colwin wrote would do the trick, whether it's her fiction or her culinary essays (there's a second volume called "More Home Cooking").

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I had forgotten about that chapter -- will go home and reread it tonight. Thank you.

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almost 4 years ago theconstanthunger

I have attempted making short ribs after a delicious meal at Cafe Mogador. The results were awful. I think I may be ready to try again. Thanks for sharing.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Go for it and be strong!

Lemon_head

almost 4 years ago BonPierce

If you have any sort of International Market or Indian Market you should be able to find the tamarind paste there.

Can't wait to try these short ribs! And yes, I'll even risk it first time for company.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great -- good luck!

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almost 4 years ago Pammorgan

Amanda, your dinner party experience is one that I have had myself numerous times until I swore that I would never try a new recipe for a party! I guess we all have to learn that lesson.the hard way.
Dan's recipe looks amazing, and I can't wait to try it..
Perfect for a cold winter evening! Thanks for sharing this one.
Pamela Morgan www.flavorsinlove.com

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you.

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almost 4 years ago smcmorrow

I love short ribs. Many years ago I found a recipe in an old cookbook for baked short ribs and Yorkshire pudding! Incredible.

I'll definitely try this recipe.

Sepia2a

almost 4 years ago nataliesztern

I am surprised at you...it is long known you never cook a new dish for a dinner party...always experiment on the husband and children first!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

If I didn't make any mistakes, I wouldn't have any good stories to tell...!

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almost 4 years ago maryw.s.

I considered making short ribs for the first time for company last weekend, but I chickened out and make Mark Bittman's beef stew. I was going to make pork tenderloin but I found out that none of the invited guests eat pork (good thing I asked). So, today, I have got short ribs and potatoes bubbling away on the stove, and I will serve them to my teenage son tomorrow night after work-it's okay to experiment on him. If we like them, I will try Dan's recipe next time.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hope they worked out!

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almost 4 years ago maryw.s.

He loved them!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Oh, good! Thanks for the follow up.

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almost 4 years ago susanmperry

If you can't try out new recipes with your friends then who? Many of my friends rarely cook so I try to keep things "interesting". Which reminds me, how DO you encourage non-foodie friends to return a dinner invitation? Aside from basic etiquette, it is nice to be the one slurping wine, chatting and noshing once in a while. The menu is secondary. Which is why it's okay to experiment with new recipes with your friends!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

When a potential dinner plan arises, I always say, "Let's do it at your house, and I'll bring dessert." Usually works.

Terry-boyd_bluekitchen

almost 4 years ago BlueKitchen

I used to watch in horror as my wife Marion would invariably cook something new for dinner parties. But she had a pretty good success rate, and this actually made me more adventurous as a cook. I'm delighted to find this new way to cook short ribs—thanks to you and Dan for sharing!

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almost 4 years ago ichabod

It looks like you are using flanken and cutting into pieces, each containing one bone. Is this correct? I would imagine that by the time the ribs are cooked, the bone has fallen away from the beef. Is this correct? thanks

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Sometimes the bone does fall out, but I try to keep it intact -- mostly because it looks nice to have a bone in when serving.

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almost 4 years ago tastefairy

UGH the flour brown! I have made that mistake in the past and never again. Braising is the type of cooking I do most in the winter during the week for our family. I prepare at least 2 on Sundays, an evolving rotation of lamb shanks, oxtails, short ribs etc. And to get that nice brown sear, on the meats I always do stove top versus oven. I love the idea of the tamarind with the short ribs and will try it this week.Thanks Amanda!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great -- hope it makes it into the rotation.

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almost 4 years ago douglasalan

I have the tamarind in a block form.it's hard like a brick! do I need to reconstitute it somehow?
thks/Douglasalan

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It should dissolve in the braising liquid.

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almost 4 years ago bd20009

any thoughts about roasting the short ribs in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes rather than browning on the stove top? I usually do stove top which can be messy and time consuming. just heard about the oven alternative and am wondering how that turns out.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I think it's a fine alternative, but I'd do it at 425 or 450 degrees.

Steve_dunn02

almost 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Great story, Amanda. Kudos for pulling Dan into the kitchen to assist, I'm fairly certain that if I found myself in the same predicament, I would have tried to pull it out of my arse all by myself, and ruined a perfectly splendid evening. I too use dinner guests as guinea pigs for trying out new dishes, but usually expose them to just one or two at a time, not FIVE. You are a brave woman! - S

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Ha! I'm more tame now -- down to just one or two new dishes per party.

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almost 4 years ago Soozll

I am guilty of the same thing..making something new for a dinner party. It usually works out better for me though, probably because I follow the recipe the first time I make something so my experimentation doesn't come back to bite me! Afterwards,and usually with a sigh of relief, I often wonder whatever possessed me to stress myself by making an untried recipe. I really need to listen to Ina and just keep it simple!

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almost 4 years ago Tammy

I *always* make new things for dinner parties with middling success. Reading that even you, Amanda, get only 60% success with this approach may be the most reassuring thing I've read in a long time!

Nevertheless, I've never made short ribs before, so my next set of dinner guests will be subjected to my first attempt. Can't wait!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'm wondering, still, what Mr. Barber did in your kitchen that evening to correct the problems at hand. Also, is the "tamarind paste" called for in the recipe something that comes in a jar, or is it the seedless pulp that comes in a hard rectangular block and is labeled "paste"? Thanks so much. ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I don't remember all the details but he did add more liquid and crank up the heat, and dinner was rather late that evening! Also, thanks for the tamarind question. What I used is called concentrate (I fixed it above) but you could also use paste.

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almost 4 years ago Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

Classic. 40% flubbed is optimistic! :)

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almost 4 years ago thirschfeld

now I have another delicious recipe for short ribs. This one looks particularly good and really inviting. Maybe it is the worcestershire and tamarind.

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almost 4 years ago thirschfeld

seems like we had some of the same dinner party thoughts today, posted a recipe Pigs in a Piggy Blanket

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almost 4 years ago MakeThatMakeThis

That's such a great story - and the ribs#2 sound amazing. Can't wait to try them!

Newliztoqueicon-2

almost 4 years ago Lizthechef

Love your creative spirit, Amanda - I'm one of those cooks who only does recipes that I have tested before a dinner party. Maybe there is a happy medium for us both ?! In any case, you have a super recipe here to share with us - thanks.

Phoenix

almost 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

Honestly, I'm amazed/impressed you'd offer to cook for Dan in the first place. Here's to going for it ~ whatever "it" is!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks.

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almost 4 years ago TiggyBee

I love it. Sounds pretty much like me!

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almost 4 years ago big-andy

What can I substitue for tamarind paste? I can't find it locally. What flavor does the paste impart?

Ls

almost 4 years ago gluttonforlife

I once read somewhere that the best substitute for tamarind paste is a paste made from equal parts dried apricots, prunes, dates, plus a combination of lime and orange juice. Use 2 tablespoons of this mixture for every teaspoon of tamarind paste required. Seems like a bit of an ordeal, though, and I might just add some lemon juice.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Lime juice with a drop or two of molasses would probably do the trick. Tamarind adds tart/sour notes, but does not have a pure sour flavor. There's just a touch of deep sweetness there. In the recipe, I would definitely not leave it out, though. ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks Antonia!

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almost 4 years ago phyllis

We all have our disasters. I never cooked before I got married some decades ago. For my first dinner party, I decided to make a cheesecake. I only had a logy handmixer and I didn't bring any of the ingredients to room temp. The cream cheese in the batter was lumpy, but I thought, humph, it'll just melt in with the heat of the oven. Nope. Ugh.

These short ribs sound delicious. I love the addition of tamarind paste. The dish will definitely find a spot on a forthcoming winter menu. I know how to cook now....

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hope you like them.