Beef short ribs. Makes me imagine warm, comforting, belly-filling food. And easy and elegant. Perfect for a dinner party. How do you entertain during the holidays? We love to mix it up ~ sometimes it’s a large group for cocktails and appetizers and other times it’s a small group for a cozy Christmas dinner. If that is the case for you, what to prepare as the main course of a special holiday meal? You can opt for beef tenderloin ~ impressive and elegant, but let’s face it, it’s expensive and you have to make sure it’s cooked a perfect medium rare. Chicken doesn’t have quite the wow factor. Seafood is iffy for different palates. Crown pork loin is impressive for sure, but a little harder to maneuver at serving time. For us, braising is always the way to go. And this dish, Beef Short Ribs with Chocolate Rosemary Wine Sauce strikes the right balance between easy, make ahead and elegant and impressive.
Beef Short Ribs with Chocolate Rosemary Wine Sauce
Braising is the perfect cooking technique for special meals in the winter. First, what is braising? Less tender cuts of meat are first browned (seared) in fat (oil or butter), covered in a small amount of liquid and cooked low and slow for several hours. You can braise on the stove-top or in the oven. The meat becomes full of flavor and melting tender. Once the meat starts cooking, you can almost leave it completely alone for 2 – 4 hours, depending on the size and amount of meat. Another plus: the searing and initial cooking can be done a day ahead, then cooked a final hour or two before serving.
Sweet Shark loves to braise in the winter and he was in charge of the main dish for this meal. He chose this melt-in-your-mouth, full-of-rich-flavor, beef short ribs with chocolate rosemary wine sauce that he found several years ago in Bon Appètit and has made on several occasions. Beef short ribs are always a good choice because one really, meaty large rib is one serving. If it falls off the bone, it’s even easier for guests to eat. The sauce that is created will make your mouth water and short ribs are very affordable.
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TIP #1: Plan on 1 large, meaty bone-in short rib per person; 6 pounds will probably yield 8 ~ 10 short ribs.
First, prepare your mise place; that means chopping, dicing and measuring your ingredients.
After cooking your pancetta, salt and pepper the short ribs and add to the pot to sear. It’s O.K. to add a little extra oil if you need it.
TIP #2: Use a large Dutch oven, one that will comfortable hold all the short ribs and deep enough to hold the sauce. My Le Creuset Dutch ovens are my go~to pot for any braising dish.
Remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside in a bowl.
Cook your mire poix: onions, celery and carrots. This step adds to the foundation of flavor you started with the cooking of the pancetta and the searing of the short ribs.
After adding the tomatoes, broth, wine, and chocolate, you are home free. Let the short ribs simmer for a few hours to tender deliciousness.
TIP #3: You can prepare the recipe through Step 4 the day before serving. When you remove ribs from the refrigerator, the fat will have risen to the surface. Use a large spoon to skim off the fat cap and discard.
TIP #4: If you like a smoother sauce, you can strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve and discard the vegetables and herbs. You can also puree the sauce in a blender.
Serving Ideas: the short ribs are wonderful served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Polenta. For a green vegetable, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Broccolini are good choices. See How to Properly Roast Vegetables for ideas and the proper technique.
Beef Short Ribs with Chocolate and Rosemary Wine Sauce Recipe
- Yield: 6-8 servings
- Category: Meat
- 1/4 cup diced pancetta, about 4 thin slices
- 6 pounds large, meaty bone-in short ribs
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 4 cloves, garlic, peeled
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups diced canned tomatoes, drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 very large sprig fresh thyme sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons shaved or grated bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa power (preferably Dutch-processed)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Heat a large heavy pot (Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to paper towels to drain.
- Sprinkle ribs with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Working in batches, brown the ribs in drippings over medium-high heat until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to plate.
- Add onions and next 4 ingredients to pot and stir. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add wine and boil uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes.
- Add broth, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pancetta to pot. Return ribs to pot, cover partially, and simmer 1 1/2 hours. NOTE: At this point, ribs can be cooled and refrigerated until the next day.
- Uncover and simmer the ribs until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2-2 hours longer.
- Transfer ribs to a plate; discard bay leaf. Spoon fat from the surface of sauce. Boil sauce until it begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add grated chocolate, cocoa powder, and rosemary; stir until chocolate melts.
- Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Return ribs to pot and simmer to rewarm, about 5 minutes.
Put this dish on your “have~to~make” list. Do you have a favorite holiday main dish for company? Please share. have a great weekend. Stay warm and cook good stuff.
Parties where I have linked up this week:
12 Days of Holiday Homes Celebrate Your Story Celebrate the Season Creating Christmas Creativity Unleashed
Make It Pretty Monday Moonlight and Mason Jars Over the Moon Share Your Style Social Monday
The Crafty Corner The Creative Circle The Scoop This is How We Roll
Vintage Charm Wonderful Wednesdays Wow Us Wednesdays Your Inspired Design