{Recipe} Cranberry-Wine Braised Beef Ribs

I'll never know what posessed me to make those ribs on a work week night. It's not like I had ingredients at home and needed to use them. There was also no crazy good deal on the ribs at my local store. I just, one Monday night, went to the supermarket, approached a meat counter and asked a butcher to cut a big hunk of ribs into cute little cubes. Then I purposely drove to a liquor store and bought wine. The next day I went to a grocery store again and purchased thyme. So, as you can see, I was obviously delusional since I actually went to three stores on two different occasions and then decided to make those ribs on a Tuesday night. I think I was temporarily insane.

It's not a difficult recipe by any means. In fact, it's actually quite easy and I would recommend it to a novice cook. However, it just takes w-a-y t-o-o l-o-n-g to make it. If, on the other hand, you have a few extra hours (and a glass or two of wine to spare for yourself), then these succulent ribs are a very impressive dish to cook!

Adapted from Everyday Food magazine by Martha Stewart

for 8 servings

Olive oil - 5 table spoons
Beef short ribs (bone in) cut into 3 inch cubes - 4 pounds
Salt, pepper
Yellow onion, cut in wedges - 1 large
Thyme - 10 springs
Garlic, peeled and crashed - 3 cloves
Flour - 1/4 cup
All natural cranberry juice (sugarless) - 2 cups
Sweetened cranberry cocktail - 1 cup
Maple syrup - 2 teaspoons (optional)
Dry red wine, such as Merlot - 1 cup

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a Dutch Oven or other large and heavy oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat.
  • Season short ribs with salt and pepper.
  • In batches, brown ribs on all sides and transfer to a plate.
  • Once all browning is done, pour off oil from the pot, and wipe loose bits out of the pot with a paper towel.
  • Reduce heat to medium-high and and add remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to pot.
  • Add onion, garlic, and thyme.
  • Cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add flour and stir onion to coat.
  • Whisk in cranberry juice, cranberry cocktail, maple syrup (if using) and wine.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Return ribs to pot, cover, and transfer to oven.
  • Bake until ribs are easily pierced with a tip of a pairing knife, about 3 hours. I gave up baking them after 1.5 hours as it was already 9pm and I was hungry.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to a large platter.
  • Strain liquid into a fat separator, let sit briefly, and return to pot, discarding fat. Or, as I did, skim off fat with a spoon. It'll take longer, but I don't have a fat separator. Note to self  (or actually husband who most likely doesn't even read my blog)- add fat separator to my holiday gift wish list.
  • Bring the liquid to boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to a sauce-like consistency, about 10 minutes.
  • Strain again, season with salt and pepper if needed and pour over ribs.

As you can see, there's not much technique to this recipe and it's quite easy. It's this all browning in batches, baking, straining, boiling, straining that takes a lot of time. Other than that, it's an easy, tasty, and very impressive recipe. Also, original recipe called for pomegranate juice instead of cranberry juice. I had sugarless cranberry juice in my fridge as well as cranberry cocktail, so I made the substitution. If you have pomegranate juice, then just use 3 cups and omit extra maple syrup.

A quick note - do not serve it with polenta as I did. My husband thought that it was mashed potatoes and was extremely disappointed when he took a first bite. It's been a few days since the dinner and he's still reminding me about how I {tricked} him. 

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Posted on December 11, 2012 and filed under Recipe.