The enticing aroma in your kitchen as these beef short ribs slowly simmer in a rich, savory red wine-based sauce until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender is just the delicious beginning! Braised Beef Short Ribs paired with creamy Cauliflower Leek Puree is a lovely comforting meal using an economical cut that’s easy yet impressive enough for guests!
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
Beef short ribs are one of my absolute favorite cuts of beef to braise. Over my 20-year personal chef career, I’ve done them countless times and consider them a specialty.
I was skeptical at first and wondered how these tough boney economical cuts were ever going to be transformed into anything enticing. Time, layering of flavors and understanding some simple cooking basics like braising were all it took.
The flavor process begins with generous seasoning then browning the ribs well on all sides. This creates a fond which are the browned bits that stick to your pan after searing a protein. Then, a classic aromatic combination of onions, carrots and celery is cooked until it’s soft and sweet. Red wine deglazes the Dutch oven to release the treasure trove of flavor that has begun. A few more savory ingredients are added, all creating the perfect cozy surroundings for this tough cut to mellow into.
The result is buttery tender, fall-off-the-bone luxurious goodness that will make everyone happy!
What is a short rib?
Beef short ribs are cut from the front of the cow from the brisket, chuck, plate or ribs. Here’s a link to an infographic from Lake Geneva Country Meats that shows exactly where they’re cut from.
There are two major kinds:
For this recipe, I used the English cut. Each piece that you see below is a half-rib so in total, four ribs. A butcher will also cut the rib into thirds but a half-rib is one good portion size if there is plenty of meat.
Short ribs have a substantial amount of connective tissue (the white veining). During the braising process, that connective tissue melts away which is what produces the succulent, tender result.
If not already done for you, you’ll want to trim the excess fat from the top which is the side opposite the bone. Leave the bone side intact as bones add flavor.
How to make Braised Beef Short Ribs with Cauliflower Leek Puree:
Recipe Ingredients (in addition to the ribs):
- Onions, Celery and Carrots: Also referred to as “aromatics.” In French cooking this combination is referred to as a mirepoix, in Italian cooking it’s a soffrito and consists of two parts onions, one part celery and one part carrots. (Eyeball it.) It’s usually accompanied by butter in France, olive oil in Italy. I opted for olive oil in this recipe because butter burns so easily.
- Beef Broth: You can also use beef stock if you prefer. Which ever one you use, a lower sodium version is always preferable because as it reduces, the saltiness will be intensified.
- Dry Red Wine: I like to use a full-bodied red such as a Cabernet or Zinfandel. You never want to use anything labled “cooking wine” because it will be awful. You don’t need to use your finest red wine of course, but you do want to use a wine that you would enjoy drinking.
- All-Purpose Flour: Rather than dredging, the flour is used for thickening. This may go against conventional thinking but I’ve never been a fan of dredging meat that needs to sear for an extended period of time because of the potential for a burned flour taste. To make this gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour or cornstarch for thickening.
- Rosemary: Fresh is best! Fresh herbs are always best added later in the cooking process. Rosemary (like sage) needs to be cooked so add it when there’s approximately 30 minutes left in the braising process.
- Leeks: When working with leeks, keep in mind they can be gritty. Cut in half, slice then immerse in a bowl of water and swish them around with your hand to loosen any dirt. The dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Then, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon.
- Gather and prep all the ingredients.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Trim as much fat as possible from the ribs leaving the bone side intact.
- Season the ribs generously with salt and black pepper.
- Heat the olive oil then working in two batches, brown well in a large heavy pot such as a Dutch oven.
- Transfer the ribs to a plate and get the mirepoix/soffrito cooking. Cook the mirepoix until it’s nice and soft, but don’t brown it. Traditionally, this aromatic blend is never browned.
- Add the garlic and give it a quick stir until it’s fragrant then add the red wine and bring it to a boil.
- Place the beef short ribs back in the pot along with the other ingredients per the recipe instructions and cover securely. I like to place aluminum foil or wet parchment paper over the pot before affixing the lid in place to ensure evaporation is minimized.
- Place in the preheated oven and let simmer away for approximately 2 ½ hours.
- Add the rosemary and cook another 30 minutes or so.
- Make the Cauliflower Leek Puree:
- Combine the cauliflower, leeks, garlic and chicken broth in a large saucepan or pot and bring it to a boil.
- Cover with the lid slightly ajar and simmer until cauliflower is tender.
- Remove the cover and simmer until most of the cooking liquid has evaporated.
- Add cream cheese and stir it into the cauliflower. Puree everything with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Transfer the short ribs to a large bowl or platter and cover to keep warm.
- Remove as much excess fat as you can. (See below for tips to accomplish this.)
- Make a slurry. Place the flour in a heatproof bowl and remove some of the braising liquid from the Dutch oven. Whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Pour the slurry into the braising liquid, bring to a boil, then cook for 4-5 minutes until thickened and the flour has cooked. The consistency should be more of a sauce rather than a gravy. The sauce will thicken more upon standing.
- Place the ribs back in the sauce and let them rest for about 10 minutes and so they also heat back through.
- Serve with the Cauliflower Leek Puree and enjoy!! Tender, luxurious, fall-off-the-bone goodness!!
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- How to degrease braised beef short ribs:
- When the ribs are done, you’ll have a substantial amount of fat on the top. Thankfully, fat naturally separates from the sauce. If serving right away and before thickening the sauce, transfer the beef short ribs to a bowl or platter and tent to keep warm. Carefully tip the Dutch oven and skim the fat with a large spoon. A gravy separator also works well.
- If you have a little more time, let the ribs cool a little bit. Then, place plastic wrap over the surface. The grease will cling to the plastic wrap. Repeat several more times.
- If you have even more time, prepare the ribs ahead of time, cool and refrigerate. When the dish is good and cold, the fat will have congealed on top, making it super easy to remove.
Braised Beef Short Ribs with Cauliflower Leek Puree! Meaty, wonderful, luscious goodness in an economical cut!
Any leftovers reheat beautifully on or off the bone. The short ribs can also be shredded and used any number of ways like beef pot pie!
Frequently Asked Questions:
You can make braised short ribs up two days ahead of time. Braised beef dishes are always better the next day but for the best flavor serve within two days. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until heated through.
Absolutely. However, keep in mind that slow cookers tend to dilute flavor so reduce the amount of broth/stock by 1 cup. Cook on HIGH for 4-6 hours or LOW for 8-10 hours (depends on the size of the short ribs). Leave the cover off for the last 30 minutes or so so that the sauce can reduce slightly and the flavor intensifies.
Yes, but I highly recommend a low and slow process. The flavor and texture will be SOOOO much better!
Yes, works great!! Cool thoroughly and place in airtight containers. Freeze up to 1-2 months for best quality. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Also great served with:
- Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Mashed Potato Casserole
- Cauliflower White Bean Puree
- Celery Root (Celeriac) Puree
Looking for more amazing beef short rib recipes? Be sure to try my:
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Braised Beef Short Ribs with Cauliflower Leek Puree
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or as needed
- 5 pounds beef short ribs approximately 6-8 large, on the bone, trimmed of excess fat
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 12 cloves garlic halved if small, sliced if large
- 2 cups hearty dry red wine such as Cabernet or Zinfandel
- 4 cups beef broth or stock, preferably low-sodium
- 1 can (15-ounce) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 large bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 medium heads cauliflower stem removed, cut into large pieces
- 1 large leek (or 2 medium) white and light green part only, halved and sliced (approximately 2 cups)
- 8 whole cloves garlic peeled
- 1 can (14.5-ounce) chicken broth
- 4 ounces cream cheese (half a block), room temperature
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Generously season the short ribs with salt and black pepper. Working in batches, place the short ribs in the hot oil and sear well on all sides, approximately 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the onion, carrot and celery to the hot oil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add a pinch or two of salt and cook, stirring often until very soft, approximately 10-12 minutes.
- Add the garlic, stir until fragrant (15 seconds), then add wine. Bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes to reduce slightly.
- Add beef broth, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and bay leaves.
- Place short ribs back into the pot, cover securely with aluminum foil or parchment paper then place the lid on the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 2-2 ½ hours.
- Add the rosemary and place back in the oven for 30 minutes or until ribs are extremely tender.
- Take short ribs out of the Dutch oven and place in a bowl. Remove and discard bay leaves. Cover to keep warm.
- Place flour in a small bowl. Remove approximately ⅔ cup of the braising liquid. Add it to the flour in the bowl and whisk to form a thick slurry. Whisk the slurry into the braising liquid and stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook 4-5 minutes or until thickened and flour is cooked. Place short ribs back into the Dutch oven. Let sit off the heat for 10 minutes or so. The sauce will thicken more upon standing. (Should be more of a sauce rather than a gravy.)
- Serve over Cauliflower Leek Puree.
- Combine cauliflower, leek, garlic and chicken broth in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with the lid slightly ajar and simmer until cauliflower is tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the cover and simmer until most of the cooking liquid has evaporated, 5-7 minutes being careful not to let ALL the liquid evaporate.
- Add cream cheese and stir into the cauliflower. Puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- Serve with Braised Beef Short Ribs.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.