When the temps in Chicagoland are sub-zero, it is time to snuggle up inside with a glass of red wine and a hearty meal. I love making short ribs in the winter. First, short ribs are easy to prepare. Second, once all of the ingredients are in the “pot” – there is very little work on your part. All you have to do is stick the meat in the oven and bake for a few hours.
My recommendation? Once you put this recipe in the oven – grab a delicious glass of full bodied red wine (Barolo is always a good idea), put in a classic film like ‘Ben-Hur’ – and cuddle under a blanket while a fire crackles. Let the aroma of the short ribs fill your home. By the time the movie is done – you will be ready to dig into a hearty bowl of mouthwatering meat and broth soaked vegetables.
Cooking Tip: You will need a stove-top to oven friendly pot to execute this recipe properly. Jeff and I are firm believers in Le Creuset Dutch Ovens. We own several of them in a variety of colors. Buying a Le Creuset is an investment you will not regret. There are less expensive models – but if you are looking for cookware that will deliver time and time again – and last a lifetime – buy the fancy French stuff. They are for sale at Williams & Sonoma and Crate & Barrel.
- 6 Bright Red Bone-In Short Ribs
- 6 Whole Carrots
- 6 Small Golden Potatoes
- 4 oz of Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms
- 1 Small Yellow Onion
- 4 Cloves of Garlic
- 2 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
- 4 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt
- 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Ground Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
- 1 14 oz Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 1 Bottle of Good Italian Wine
- Olive Oil
- Fresh Loaf of Crusty Bed
- Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Keep it Local
My family believes in supporting local businesses. If you live in the Chicagoland area – you can purchase everything you need at the retailers below. If you are visiting this site from a different part of the globe – I encourage you to seek out your own local providers. Supporting small businesses helps the local economy and preserves the cultural fabric of American life.
- Ream’s Meat Market – Elburn, Illinois (Short Ribs)
- Blue Goose Grocery – Saint Charles, Illinois (Vegetables and Bread)
- 360 Flavor & Spice – Geneva, Illinois (Fresh Spices)
- Wine Exchange – Saint Charles, Illinois (Wine)
- The Royal Wren – Geneva, Illinois (Olive Oil)
Take meat and pat dry with paper towels. Lay meat out on a clean work space. Take 2 tablespoons of salt and massage it into the meat with your hands. Pretend you are giving the short rib a sugar scrub in the shower. Once the meat is covered with salt, use a mortar and pestle to grind the black peppercorns. After grinding the peppercorns into a fine powder, measure out 1 tablespoon. Repeat meat massage.
Let meat rest until room temperature – about an hour. Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees.
While the meat is resting – prep the vegetables. Skin the carrots and dice evenly. Rinse the potatoes. Leave the skin on the potatoes and dice evenly. Rinse the mushrooms and dice into nice hearty chunks. Remove skins from the onion and garlic. Dice the onion. Crush the garlic.
For the rosemary, grab each sprig firmly at the top with the leaves pointing up (not down). Take your pointer finger and thumb and pull all of the leaves down off the stalk. The leaves should come off easily. Discard stalk. Chop rosemary until it is very fine.
Cooking Tip: After prepping vegetables, I like to put each kind on a separate paper plate. Then, as I am working at the stovetop – all I have to do is grab the plate with the next ingredient and throw it into the pot. Plus, then I can have the kids find the next ingredient and carry it over. It helps them to be a part of the food journey and they love to help. Then, I reuse the plates or recycle them.
Once the meat has rested – put the dutch oven on the stove top and adjust the temperature to medium heat. Pour a healthy dose of olive oil in the pot. Wait until the olive oil is crackling before you add the meat. Do not overcrowd the pot. You will have to work in batches.
Cooking Tip: There are two major mistakes new cooks make (me included): (1) letting food hit a cold pan before it has heated up and (2) over crowding the pot. Just trust me on this. The quality and texture of the food will not be as good if you rush or overcrowd.
When the meat hits the pot – there should be an instant crackling sound. Working with a pair of tongs – rotate the meat until all sides of the short rib have a beautiful caramel color. You want a nice crust – but not a char – on the meat. Char can result in the entire dish tasting burnt at the end. Place the meat onto a plate or platter lined with paper towel. Let the meat rest (more resting).
After you remove the meat, there will be meat juice and olive oil in the pan. Leave it! That is meat milk! So delicious! Keep the pot hot on the stove top and add the onion. Sauté the onion until it is translucent. Add the garlic. Everything should be smelling very delicious by now. Add the carrots and potato. Continue to sauté until vegetables soften. Add mushrooms. Add rosemary. Sniff the yumminess. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the tomato paste. Gradually fold it into the vegetables until it is evenly disbursed throughout the mixture. Sometimes tomato paste can have a weird aftertaste if you do not distribute it evenly throughout and allow it to warm up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Take the short ribs and nestle them into the vegetables. If you haven’t already, crack open a bottle of good red robust Italian wine (I’d invest in something in the $15 to $20 price range). Pour yourself a glass. Breathe in the peppery aroma and sip. Pour remaining wine into the pot until the short ribs are covered (but still slightly exposed – the meat should’t be buried in wine). Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a slight boil (bubbly – not raging). Simmer until the strong smell of alcohol dissipates (approximately 10 to 15 minutes). Add the can of tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and remove from heat.
Put the pot into the oven. The meat will need to cook for at least three hours. Enjoy that movie we talked about. You and your sweetie may even need to crack a second bottle of wine.
After a few hours, the smell coming from your kitchen should be intoxicating. When you hit the three hour mark – pull the pot from the oven and taste a piece of the meat and broth. The flavors should be bold, a little salty and the meat should melt in your mouth like butter. If this is not the case, salt and pepper to taste, and re-cover and put the pot back into the oven for another 30 minutes to an hour.
When the flavors are to your liking, plate the short rib and vegetables. Take a high-quality olive oil and pour into a dipping dish. Add fresh Parmesan cheese on top of the olive oil. Slice the bread. Proceed to gobble up heaping spoonfuls of meaty hearty yummy deliciousness and bread laden with meat sauce, olive oil and cheese.
Like I said at the beginning – so yum!
Have Questions about this Recipe?