Last updated on January 9th, 2017
My annual holiday dilemma? What to serve the crowd for Christmas dinner. Beef tenderloin is nice, but egad — the price. Ditto for roast goose. Furthermore, I want something that I can make in advance, and then simply reheat in the oven. Bingo — braised short ribs!
If you’ve never encountered them, short ribs are savory, succulent, meltingly-tender things. They’re inexpensive, too. But most importantly, the ribs always taste better when you cook them a day ahead of time, and then reheat them. And all they require is red wine, beef stock, aromatic veggies, and fresh, fragrant herbs. I cook them this way:
To start, take 8 bone-in short ribs (enough for 4 big servings), and generously season them with coarse salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Next, take a particularly-handsome onion…
And peel and dice it.
Also dice up 2 or 3 carrots…
And 2 ribs of celery.
No picture of this next step: Heat a large, heavy skillet (I use a large electric skillet heated to 350°F) until it’s really, really hot.
Then tip 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet…
And brown the 3 meaty sides of each rib. (You don’t have to brown the bone side). Brown the meat in batches if your skillet is small. I like my cheapo electric skillet here because it can accommodate 8 ribs without crowding them.
For the best crust, sear the meat for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until it turns deep, walnut brown.
Transfer the ribs to a 5 quart Dutch oven.
Then throw the minced veggies into the skillet, and toss them about with a heat-proof spatula until they start to caramelize — about 8 minutes.
While a happy and wholesome holiday song plays in your head (I recommend this one), tip the veggies and about 2 cups of red wine into the Dutch oven. What kind of red wine? Well, it should be something you wouldn’t mind drinking. Today, because I only want the best for you, I splurged on a bottle of Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon.
Please send me a check for $16.95.
Also add about 2 cups of homemade beef stock…
And a generous splash of balsamic vinegar.
Oh. You’ll need enough liquid to barely cover the meat and veggies. Add more wine and/or stock as necessary.
It’s time to add the herbs! For the sake of easy removal after braising is complete, tie the herbs with kitchen string. Otherwise, if you toss them willy-nilly into the pot, as I did, you’ll have to pick out the stems later on.
Don’t be like me. Tie your herbs!
Here’s what you should tie together:
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh parsley…
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme…
And 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Bring the works to a simmer on the stove top. Then cover the pot, and transfer it to a preheated 350°F oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
As the meat and veggies braise in their aromatic liquid, 3 things will inevitably occur:
1) A glorious perfume will engulf your kitchen
2) Your beagle’s nose will twitch
3) You’ll decide to eat short ribs every day for the rest of your life
And just look at the finished product. The tender meat has detached itself from the bones.
Strain the contents of the pot through a sieve set over a large bowl, and pick out the loosened bones. Also, pick out the stems of the herbs you foolishly forgot to tie with string. Allow the liquid in the bowl to cool for at least 30 minutes. This way, the fat will rise to the top, and you can skim it off with a spoon. Return the liquid, the ribs, and the veggies to the pot, and serve.
Or…for even better-tasting ribs…
Just return the strained ribs, veggies and liquid to the pot, and let them cool, uncovered, to room temperature. Then cover the pot, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. The fat will solidify as it chills, so you can easily scrape it away. About 30 minutes before serving time, reheat in a 350°F oven.
Now put some mashed potatoes on a plate…
And add a short rib or two, plus some veggies and a big spoonful of the fragrant braising liquid.
Garnish with finely-chopped chives or scallions…pour out some Cabernet Sauvignon…and enjoy this succulent winter feast!
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Here’s the printable:
Braised the day before you wish to serve them, short ribs are at their tender, succulent best. Serve them on a bed of mashed potatoes for a rich, comforting winter feast.
- 8 bone-in short ribs
- Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2-3 carrots, finely-chopped or minced
- 2-3 celery stalks, finely-chopped or minced
- 2 cups (or more) dry red wine
- 2 cups (or more) unsalted beef stock
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Herbs: Sprigs of fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary, tied together with kitchen string
- Optional garnish: Finely-chopped chives or scallions
- Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously dust the ribs with salt and pepper, and set aside. Heat a large skillet until very hot (or heat an electric skillet to 350°F), and then add the olive oil. Immediately add the ribs, turning after 4-5 minutes, until darkly browned on the 3 meaty sides. Transfer the ribs to a 5-quart Dutch oven.
- Tip the veggies into the skillet, and toss them about with heat-proof spatula until slightly caramelized -- about 8 minutes. Pour the veggies into the Dutch oven, and add the wine, stock, and balsamic vinegar. You'll need enough liquid to barely cover the ingredients, so add more wine and/or stock if necessary. Add the herbs, and bring to a simmer on the stove top. Then cover the pot, and place it in the preheated oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Strain the contents of the Dutch oven through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Remove the bones (these should slip right off the tender meat) and the bundle of herbs. Return the strained meat, veggies, and braising liquid to the Dutch oven, and let cool, uncovered, to room temperature. Then cover the pot and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Scrape off the fat that has solidified on the surface. Reheat in a preheated 350°F oven until warmed through -- about 30 minutes. Serve the ribs, veggies, and braising liquid over mashed potatoes, and garnish, if you wish, with finely-chopped chives or scallions.
This is my favorite company recipe! I slow cook the day before- Chill overnight and remove all of the fat. Make the garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds and red cabbage,( especially for New Years’ Day)just before dinner or earlier and reheat.
This is a no fail company favorite- I agree with you Kevin-The eyes light up as the company walks into the aroma of the warming stew, a fire to warm the frosty toes and fingers and whatever grog and snacks welcome friends.
This is a winter, trapped in the cave, snow and cold outside, sure fire crowd pleaser.
Mary W says
This is certainly the most welcome home dish I can think of. The smell alone would draw them gladly to your table, I’m sure. Reminds me of the way my mother-in-law cooked simple but so delicious meals.
Joanne in Zone 6b says
I had a great laugh at your happy and wholesome holiday song recommendation (one of my favorites, too). Your guests will be very fortunate to have this delicious Christmas dinner.
I grew up on my momma’s beef short ribs. Then when I left home I kept them in the rotation. Where I live now,in east central Illinois….the grocery store don’t/won’t carry them….I’ve asked. When I do get to a larger town, I find them too expensive. What’s the deal? Your buying bones, with a little meat on them??? I guess they are now considered a gourmet food…..really? So now, for me, they are a treat. Thanks for your wonderful site, love your brand of humor and insite.
no way to mashed potatoes- cheesy polenta all the way- preferrably with some shrimp and jalepenos included .mmmm I know what I’m making now! TX!!!
Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says
The bonus beyond so many of your luscious recipes is the way you demonstrate how to utilize kitchen gadgets and appliances. I have never used an electric skillet, but now I have a good reason to shop for one. Your informative visuals are so helpful. : >)
Joni D. says
My mouth is watering … 8:30 a.m. and I want some RIGHT NOW!! Merry Christmas!!
Joan Sego says
Where I live short ribs must be considered a delicacy as they’re anything but inexpensive, and the offerings aren’t as meaty as yours are. I will toast your wonderful meal, however, with your choice of wine ……. Merry Christmas and looking forward to your emails in he New Year!
Hi Kevin. This is such a lovely recipe. I’m going to try it in my handy dandy pressure cooker. It takes a large fraction of the time. Thanks so much for all your great ideas. Love your dog!!
Wow, that looks great! Less work than Beef Wellington (and less expensive)! Can’t wait to try this out.
Short ribs are pricey in my neck of the woods, so whenever we find them at a reasonable price we stock up! I just made a batch yesterday. I roast them in the oven and finish in the crock pot. The crock is about to be turned on for dinner tonight. I also add home canned roasted tomatoes and garlic to my ribs. Yum!
Katie S says
Is it possible to cook the ribs in a crock pot rather than Dutch oven?
Kevin, you really know how to make our mouths water! I am going shopping for ribs right now. Merry Christmas to you, the Silver Fox and that love-bunny doggie.
Cynthia Kammann says
I have the same skillet Kevin uses, and I highly recommend it for size, quality, and price!
Your recipe could not have arrived at a better time.
Christmas morning with family and kids is full of activity and energy.
Thinking about making Christmas dinner during gift opening takes away from the experience. Problem solved with the short ribs. Making this delicious looking recipe, the day before… has saved the day. Thank you!!!!
Sandy M says
I have friends who own a Christmas tree farm and every year at this time I give them a ‘stress-free’ dinner, where I show up at their house and provide them a wonderful home-cooked meal. I’ve been wondering what to make this year and your make-ahead short ribs would be perfect to take! And instead of the mashed potatoes, I think I’ll make your Pommes Anna recipe (which I just tried for the first time last night and absolutely loved!) Thanks Kevin for the fun and luscious reading on this cold and icy day in PA!
Kevin, after the initial cooking phase, could you freeze these? I’m thinking this would be nice for the days when live takes a left hook, and you don’t have anything for dinner. 😉
Kevin: Thanks for the beautiful photos and the step by step process. You make short ribs and everything else seem so manageable, and I approach my kitchen with your recipes in hand!
Happy Holidays and thank you for all the seasons of the year!
Leslie D says
Many thanks, Kevin, for this delicious recipe. I love short ribs, but have not made them in a while. Your memory jog has made them choice #1 for the holidays when turkey has lost its charm.
I enjoy your blog in all its facets and send best wishes to you and all your family for a safe, merry Christmas and a healthy, happy new year.
Judy LeRoux says
Another yummy recipe!!!!!
The reason goose is so expensive is that they have to be at least 9 months old to harvest and are a royal chore to raise. They eat grass. Lots of grass. I am surprised they are not green inside.
Plus, we raise our animals with lots of love. For instance the ducks had to lay a really late year nest and guess what we have Christmas the duckling!!!!!!
Addie B in Florida says
I will definitely be shopping for short ribs, Kevin! That dish looks so yummy! Thanks so much for all you do and Merry Christmas to you and yours.:-)))
Sherry Peters says
I just love your site, Kevin Lee Jacobs – and every single recipe, tip and suggestion you provide. Sincere thanks for your great wit, your fantastic visuals and the fact that you’re so generous / willing to share it all with us. Can’t wait to try this recipe!
Ooops!! I meant, “It takes a large fraction of the time less”.
Great idea, Kevin! I don’t eat much beef and when I checked prices
of various cuts I was shocked. But, I found a good butcher shop that
everyone is singing praises about around here so will go with the short ribs from
that shop and hope my 7 peeps for dinner will be pleased.
I like the idea of cooking it the day before. So thanks for that tip, too.
What I love about this recipe is that it combines a flavorful meat with fresh vegetables. It’s the way my husband and I both prefer to eat. I’m going to see if I can make this meal for around $10.00, which is a mental game I play that makes cooking more interesting.
Lynn Bean says
This sounds delicious. It’s very similar to the recipe I use for making lamb shanks, except that has a big blob of tomato paste added and perhaps more wine, less stock lol. I’m going to try it out before Christmas but I do think it’s a perfect celebratory meal.
Anne in VT Zone 4-5 says
Although I have lived in the USA for well over thirty years I have never made any kind of ribs. They are just something I have never experienced, but knowing the reliability of your recipes and tips, I will give this a try, though not for Christmas Dinner. I would like to put the electric skillet on my Christmas list, but don’t have any space left to store such a thing. It would be wonderful if your cookbook could have the photos and text of your recipes explained, but to have so many photos and pages would no doubt make it prohibitively expensive. We await news on this.
Annie B says
Yum, Kevin. I wish I could sit down to this dinner right NOW! Short ribs are also pricey here in Missouri and only available at certain stores…who knows why? But, I think this will require a trip to said store 75 miles away this very week…and while I’m there…some nice bottles of wine may fall into my cart. Such a lovely cold weather dinner. Glad tidings to you and your beloved, Kevin.
Lin Willett says
Thank you, saved the annual tussle of what is for Christmas dinner.
badger gardener says
Short ribs are not something I grew up with so I never knew what people did with them. I am so excited to try this. Perfect cozy winter meal.
Love the classic Christmas carol. It was made extra funny for me by the fact that my younger son had come home from school singing that very song today.
I love Short Ribs and your recipe looks a whole lot easier than the Cook’s Illustrated I have been using. This will make a great meal for our next blizzard. (So blessed that we raise our own beef and I make sure our butcher has short ribs on the list of cuts I want.) Stay warm!
Does anybody have a clue how to adapt this to a crock pot, please?
I don’t have an oven proof pot, could it be baked In a roasting pan covered with foil?
I got so inspired by the recipie I ran out and bought the ingredients but need a different way to cook them
YUM! Merry Christmas!
Jerry Miller says
These look delicious. I love braised short ribs with mashed potatoes. I can’t wait to get some short ribs and prepare this recipe.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Daria – Yes, you could braise the ribs just as you suggested — in a roasting pan tightly covered with foil. Enjoy!
So much for the lasagna on Christmas Eve – I’m switching to ribs! This looks amazing!
Your timing is impeccable. Just yesterday I invited friends over for dinner on the weekend and thought of trying to make braised short ribs for them…now I will with confidence. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!
Barbara Montoya says
Can’t believe you didn’t include some garlic in this recipe. I make something similar quite often and thicken the sauce by scooting the veggies through a sieve. Then I add fresh fresh carrots and celery, sometimes baby onions or leeks. Yum!
Julie R says
Looks yummy, and Kevin you picked the perfect Christmas song to listen to while cooking it LOL.
Kip Morrissette says
I sure want to try this recipe. Easy and Delicious works for me!
Here is a little hint I came up with: I buy a box of small coffee filters for my herbs, tie with a piece of thread or string and toss in pot. I do this with the package that comes in a Corn Beef package also; no peppercorns etc to pick out.
I clicked on your Ideas for Christmas and I didn’t even know I needed anything. LOL. I am going to make a list as our kids always ask me what they can get me…and I’ve always said a ‘dish towel’ which they ignore. This year they will be sorry they asked.
Merry Christmas to everyone!
I made the ribs, and red cabbage and green beans as Gloria suggested (first comment) but instead of almonds I sprinkled pomegranate seeds over the green beans. Perfect for this time of year. The ribs were even tastier as left overs the next day!
Kip.. or try tea bag filters – they come with a string/thread. Just remember to remove the paper tag before adding to the pot. Merry Christmas!
Love the MUSIC, and of course your inspiring recipes. Can’t wait to buy ingredients and get started. My current recipe basket is dominated by favs from you. Love your emails. Have a warm & wonderful Christmas!
Last Saturday, in Thurmont, MD, we woke up to freezing rain and 1/4″ of rain. I had planned ahead, with the thought of being iced in. My game plan was to have the house smell wonderful, all weekend long. After breakfast was cleaned up, I started on Sunday’s dinner. I made these wonderful short ribs, that you should make, if for no other reason, to make you house smell out of this world. They cooked and then cooled and made me forget about the weather. For dinner, as a cold day comfort food, we made cheese grits with blackened shrimp and biscuits for dinner. On Sunday, we watched the Ravens win and then heated the short ribs in the oven, to once again, make my house smell like heaven. Thank you for sharing recipes that are fantastic to eat and simple enough for a home cook to feel like a chef!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Candy – Thanks for the review!
Ellen Beal says
Cooked exactly three hours and opened the Dutch oven to find way overlooked short ribs, no broth and nearly scorched vegetables. Trying to salvage with canned tomatoes and broth. What a disappointment!
I just put the pot in the oven! (I got a new, larger Dutch oven for Christmas, yay!) I added some parsnips, just because I love them. Can’t wait to serve it, tomorrow! Thanks, Kevin, and Merry Christmas to you and Silver Fox!
The same thing that happened to Ellen in her Dec. 22nd post happened to me an hour ago. Wish I knew what I did wrong. I was so careful with the instructions. Cooked exactly three hours and opened the Dutch oven to find way overlooked short ribs, no broth and nearly scorched vegetables. Not sure how to save this. Kevin I do love your emails.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Laurie – I’ve made these short ribs 3 times since posting the recipe, and each time I let them cook for 3 hours. Never has the liquid evaporated the way you described. My best guess is that your oven might be running hotter than 350°F. Or, perhaps your pot or Dutch oven is made of a thinner material than mine. I’ve adjusted the recipe above to read 2 1/2 to 3 hours for cooking time. Hope this helps, and hope you will give the short ribs another try.
Kevin forgot to add the 2 cups of homemade beef stock to the print recipe. This could help prevent the loss of liquid experienced by previous posters.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Anthony – Hmmm. Unless my eyes have deceived me, the beef stock is listed in the printable recipe!
Margaret Vanhull says
Dear Kevin, Last week I hosted a dinner party for local & out-of-towner relatives and served your baked onions in parmesan cream as a 1st course, strawberry kiwi salad with toasted pumpkin seeds, your short rib recipe with mashed potatoes, buttered beets, plus your rhubarb/berry sauce over vanilla ice cream for dessert. My family couldn’t stop raving over the meal, especially the ribs, even calling the next day to rave some more. I want you to know what an impact you have had on me in the kitchen and in the garden. I’ve told you earlier about teaching my garden club to do winter sowing. I tell everyone about you and always give you the credit on my menus. Your ideas are always reliable and easy. KUDOS!
Brenda Lewis says
Love this recipe…all except for the step where it indicates that I send you a check for $16.95…lol. Thanks for the smiles…great ribs!! Merry, Merry! Brenda
Donna Cheung says
I have been making these short ribs for years, but I use a ruby red port (not tawny) which we find superior to red wine…this is a personal choice but maybe worth trying the next time you make them.
The fragrance of this wonderful beef recipe slowly cooking in the oven makes you salivate all day! We have also bought a cheap pot roast and cooked it the same way, long and slow until it falls apart, but the short ribs have the best flavour over all.
Kevin, we made this last year for Christmas, and it was so delicious, we’re doing it, again, this year. LOVE this recipe!
Kevin, this looks delicious. I am wondering why you are not browning the ribs in your Le Creuset? Removing them, then carmelizing the vegetables before adding the ribs back the dutch oven. One less pan to wash and all the lovely fond to enhance the flavor. Either way, it is a lovely comfy dinner.
Wishing a joyful season and a wonderful New Year.
Nancy Giges says
Do you buy your ribs at a grocery store pre-packaged or order them from a butcher (or special order from the grocery store). What do you look for when you buy the meat? (I agree with a lot of those commenting, mostly from 2016, that as much as I love short ribs and had them growing up a lot, it just seems you get so little meat with the “heavy” bones that they come on so making them seem expensive.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Nancy – I buy short ribs pre-packaged at my local grocery store. The ribs they offer — during the holidays, anyway — are always “meaty.”
Kevin, I just got through clearing out my too long list of bookmarks and now I’m adding again, your Merveilles and braised short ribs recipes. See what you did?
Thanks for all the great recipes and laughs over the year. Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday season.
Great recipe and ……………….. gorgeous dishes. Are they flo blue by chance?
P A says
Thank you, Kevin!
I have many recipes for braised short ribs, but your photos made this one look so easy that I’ve decided it’s going to be my Christmas dinner. Will make ahead and, after removing the cooled fat, will thicken the sauce with some beurre manie (Christmas calories don’t count!) to make a rich gravy for those clouds of mashed potatoes.
Thanks again and happy New Year
P.S. I’m counting on you to spare us the healthy, weight-loss recipes immediately after January 1st. Some of us still want to enjoy the rest of winter indulging in cold-weather comfort food, so bring on the casseroles!
Mary Jouver says
I have never made short ribs but after reading thru your recipe and seeing those yummy looking pictures, I am going to the grocery today and buying some to make! They look absolutely delicious and those mashed potatoes…I cannot wait! Thank you Kevin for your newsletter and videos
all year…I really enjoy them! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Mr. Fox.
Bruni Haydl says
I also wound up with no both and nearly scorched vegetables after cooking about two hours in my 5 1.2 Qt Le Creuset pot. Think I know what the problem was… the pot was too big for four ribs. I’d cut the meat quantity in half since it was just for me and the ribs are too expensive to eat as leftovers more than once. Since it was a simple recipe I plan to try it again in a smaller ovenproof container to see if I can get good results, including the wonderful aroma.
Can you make these 2 days in advance if eating (on Monday to eat Wednesday)?
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Danielle – Yes, you can make the ribs 2 days in advance. Enjoy!