Nom of the Month – Hearty Braised Short Ribs

Last month, I was home alone as the rest of my family trekked out to Calgary to visit relatives out there. I was stuck at home trying to figure out something easy I could cook that would last me at least half the week for lunch/dinner (and something I could pack away for my guy for his meals as well). As a project for one of my Food Service courses in university, I teamed up with an awesome group of fellow Dietetic students to plan “Community Dinner,” a 5 course meal for about 100 individuals (check out this link for details!) After going for a delicious Valentines Day at Lupo planned by my guy, I couldn’t help but attempt to recreate our dinner but also using a similar recipe to what we used for “Community Dinner.”

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I brought my lunch to work the other week and the dietitians thought it looked and smelled delish. My manager also noted that this meal could be made easier by sticking it all into a crock pot in the morning and letting the flavours meld together for a hearty meal after work.

This meal doesn’t involve a lot of prep but does require a decent amount of time in the oven. That being said, it fed my bigger eater boyfriend and myself for 2 meals x 3-4 days. It’s also a great meal to make in large quantities, portion out, and stick into the freezer for an easy future meal. The wait is well worth it – the meat will fall off the bone, tender and juicy, while the veggies break down and absorb allll the delicious flavours. You’ll be surprised you’re eating vegetables when you taste them!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb (1-1.5 kg) beef short ribs, bone in, excess fat trimmed off and cut into 5cm lengths – weight includes bones
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil – optional
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large can (typically about 796 mL can) plum tomatoes with juice – there was a bit of juice (less than 1/2 cup/ 125 mL) left in the can that I did not use
  • 2 cups sliced carrots, cut into 1/2 cm rounds – if you want your carrots softer, cut into 1/4 cm rounds
  • 2 cups long eggplant, cut in half, then 1/2 cm slices
  • 3 cups leeks, thoroughly washed and chopped – I cut each leak rounds into quarters and 1/2 cm slices
  • 6-8 whole cloves – if you’re worried about accidentally biting into these when eating your meals, then omit
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp  (30 mL) brown sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper or paprika
  • Fresh pepper – to taste
  • 3-4 cups (750-1000mL) beef stock – if you want a thicker veggie sauce/side, add 3 cups (750 mL) broth

What to do: 

  1. Optional step: Sear the short ribs on high heat in a pan with olive oil. Place on a plate with a paper towel. This step adds some extra flavour to the ribs but can be omitted if you’re short on time.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F – if you have a hotter oven, preheat to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a large casserole pan, add half of the garlic, tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, leeks, cloves and parsley to the dish. Layer all the short ribs on top of the garlic/vegetables/cloves/parsley. Add the remaining garlic/vegetables/cloves/parsley on top of the ribs.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the vinegar, tomato paste, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and cayenne/paprika until a homogeneous mixture. Pour on top of the meat/vegetables. Pour the beef stock on top all the ingredients until covered. 
  5. Cover the casserole dish and stick into the oven for 1.5 hours. Uncover then bake for another 1.5 hours until the meat is tender and the vegetables are a thick sauce.
  6. Allow to cool. Serve with your preferred starch (mashed potatoes, polenta, a side of crusty bread, etc – I used this recipe and made some mascarpone polenta. YUM!)

Serves 10-12

Tips/Suggestions:

  • Not a fan of short ribs and how fatty it can be? Use round or chuck instead. Or allow the mixture to cool and spoon off any excess fat from the top of the dish.
  • Short on time? Stick all the ingredients into a crock pot and set it before work – just add less broth since the crock pot will miss the “cook uncovered” step, preventing excess liquid to burn off. Or make a big batch of these ribs on the weekend, portion into freeze-safe containers and stick into the freezer for future (nomalicious) meals!
  • Not a meat eater? Sub with a hearty, dark mushroom of choice.
  • Some grocery stores sell large pieces of ribs instead of cutting into smaller pieces. I bought this.. and was unable to cut through the bone to portion the meat into smaller pieces! Be sure to ask your butcher to cut into 5 cm portions, or debone the meat from the ribs and add both the meat and bones for added flavour (what I ended up doing!)
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