Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine and Vanilla

By • May 30, 2015 15 Comments

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Author Notes: Anytime there is a bit of red wine left in a glass, I pour it into a jar in the fridge. Once the jar is full, I use the wine to braise some meat.

I shred the ribs before serving, but you can also garnish them and serve them whole, right out of the oven—or you can remove the ribs, skim the fat from the sauce, season it, and place the the ribs back in the pot whole. It's up to you.
Phyllis Grant

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Serves 4

  • 4 beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper for seasoning meat
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Handful fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage (no need to remove from stems)
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced (remove seeds)
  • 3 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 cups red wine
  • Parsley and cilantro for garnish
  1. Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl or a zip-top bag. Whisk together garlic, olive oil, balsamic, whole herbs, and lemon. Use your hands to smush the marinade into the meat. Store in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Remove short ribs form the fridge and heat oven to 250°F. Discard the herbs and lemon slices. Reserve the marinade. With a mortar and pestle, make a paste out of garlic from the marinade, anchovies, tomato paste, vanilla extract, and paprika. Set aside.
  3. Place a large ovenproof pot over high heat. Add vegetable oil. When it's just starting to smoke, place short ribs in the pan. No need to jiggle or shift the meat around. Just let them do their thing. After 2 minutes, take a peek. When the meat is a gorgeous dark brown, turn to sear on the other side. Remove from pan and set aside. Pour off excess oil, leaving a small splash for the onions you'll sauté next.
  4. Turn heat down to medium. Add the diced onion. Use a wooden spoon and the onions to get all of the meat goodies up off of the bottom of the pot. Once the onions are soft and translucent, turn the heat down to low and add the garlic/anchovy/paprika purée. Stir for a minute. Add wine and reserved marinade. Add ribs. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Put on the lid and place in the preheated oven. The ribs don't have to be completely immersed in the liquid, just flip them every hour or so to make sure they get some love from the wine.
  5. Depending on the size of the ribs, they can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours to become fall-off-the-bone tender. Sometimes a bit longer.
  6. When the ribs are tender and feel about ready to slide off the bone, take the meat out and reserve on a plate. Taste the sauce. Add salt if needed, or a splash of balsamic. Or a bit more vanilla. Using your hands, slide meat off of the bones and place back into the sauce. Pick out any large pieces of fat that are unappealing (small ones will melt into the braise). Shred the meat as best you can.
  7. Serve over polenta or quinoa. Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley.

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