With the cold weather upon us, it’s time to cook up some warming, comfort food. Beef short ribs are thick and meaty and able to stand up to a long, slow cook. This recipe takes a little time, but is very easy to do. What’s more, because it tastes better made a day or two before serving, it is a perfect dinner party dish. Beef and horseradish is a classic combination so this recipe features a creamy accompaniment to the rich port and wine sauce.
For the short ribs:
- 6 beef short ribs (400 to 450g each)
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves and 4 whole sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large or 2 medium onions (diced)
- 1 carrot (diced)
- 2 stalks celery (diced)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 300 ml port
- 600 ml robust red wine
- 1.5L beef stock
- 4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the horseradish crème fraiche:
- 170g crème fraiche
- 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6
- Season the short ribs with 1 Tbsp thyme leaves and 1 Tbsp cracked pepper, using your hands to distribute evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking (allowing them to come to room temperature) and after 30 minutes, season them generously on all side with salt. Preheat the oven to 160 °C (140°Fan/Gas Mark 2).
- When it is time to begin cooking the ribs, heat a large cocotte or sauté pan over high heat for 3 minutes and pour in the rapeseed oil. Wait until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the ribs in the pan (working in batches and do not crowd the meat) and sear until nicely browned on the three meaty sides, about 10-15 minutes, per batch.
- Remove browned ribs and set aside on a plate.
- Using the same pan, turn the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot and celery. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown, crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to caramelise. Add the thyme sprigs, bay leaves, stir a minute or two more, and then add the balsamic vinegar, port and red wine. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the liquid by half.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the ribs back to the pan, standing on one side in a single layer. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover with tight-fitting lid or aluminium foil. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours.
- To check the meat for doneness, remove lid or foil - being careful of the escaping steam - and pierce a short rib with a knife. The meat will yield easily to the knife when done.
- Allow the ribs to rest for 10 minutes in their juices and then transfer to a baking tray. ( See BK TIPS if making the next day).
- Turn oven up to 200°C (180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6) and place ribs in oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown.
- Strain the broth into the saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices; skim fat from sauce. If it seems too thin, you can reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly, adding a touch of corn flour, if desired. Taste for seasoning.
For the Horseradish Creme Fraiche:
- Combine the crème fraiche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side.
- If making these for the next day, let the ribs cool in the broth after Step 7 and then refrigerate. When you are ready to finish preparing, gently warm to release ribs from broth, place them on a baking tray and then proceed with Step 9.
- Ask your butcher to order the short ribs for you if they do not usually have them available.
- If you start this recipe 2 days ahead you will only have to complete the last few steps on the day you serve it.
- A Reserve or Late-Bottled Vintage port works best with this recipe. Ruby lacks depth and a Tawny can be too sweet.
- The remaining 150ml of red wine should be reserved for the chef.