The Barefoot Contessa’s hearty stew may be time-consuming, but it will be well worth the hours of braising when you taste the rich flavours. Perfect for a special-occasion supper or to make-ahead for a week’s worth of dinners, Ina’s braised short ribs are full of secret ingredients and absolutely bursting with flavour.
Ina starts this rich main by braising short ribs on a sheet pan instead of a stovetop. No need for a messy oil splatter sear with this method that cooks up her four pounds of short ribs without the time or mess. Ina then starts with a mirepoix of celery, carrots and onions before adding her secret weapon to the dish – an entire bottle of red wine (Ina’s pick is a Cotes du Rhone which she likes for the full-bodied flavour). After adding in beef stock, crushed tomatoes and thyme, Ina finishes the stew with a bottle of Irish stout beer. The yeasty, hoppy flavour complements the red wine to add incredible depth.
Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Yields: 6 servings
5 lbs very meaty bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch chunks
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
3 cups chopped celery (5 to 6 ribs)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped unpeeled carrots (6 carrots)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (5 cloves)
1 (750-milliliter) bottle Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone, Chianti, or other dry red wine
4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
1 (11.2-oz) bottle Guinness draught stout
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
Toasted baguette, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the short ribs on a sheet pan, brush the tops with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Roast for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Reduce the temperature to 325°F.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large (12-inch) Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, onions, and carrots and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced. Add the stock, tomatoes, Guinness, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.
3. Place the ribs in the pot, along with the juices and seasonings from the sheet pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook in the oven for one hour. Uncover and cook for one more hour, until the meat is very tender.
4. Remove the short ribs to a plate with a slotted spoon and discard the thyme bundle and any bones that have separated from the meat. Simmer the sauce on the stove for 20 minutes, until reduced. Skim some of the fat off the top and discard. Return the ribs to the pot, heat for 5 minutes, and taste for seasonings. Serve hot in shallow bowls, with a toasted baguette and extra sauce on the side.