Stick to Your Ribs Stew

April 10, 2015

in Cook What You Like, Main Dishes


Short Ribs v2A spring storm rolled through NorCal this week dropping rain and temperatures.  It also brought lots of noise and the sky lit up with zig-zaggy flashes –  the threat of a tornado?  In California?  No matter.  Just the perfect time for a rib-sticking beef stew, a rich short rib stew that has a small extra step giving it more depth – the kind of full flavor that’s achieved by making the stew now and serving it tomorrow.  No waiting with this recipe, you’ll get it all on the same day.

Start with browning the flour-coated ribs in a little oil.  Add half of the veggies, wine and more liquid.  Part way through cooking, remove the cooked vegetables.  Then add the other half of the uncooked vegetables.  Puree the cooked veggies and add back to the stew.  The puree both thickens the stew and fast forwards the “overnight” flavor.

To keep the meaty flavor balance of the short ribs, choose a medium dry red wine like a Grenache. Syrah or a Rhone blend such as Lone Buffalo Vineyards Where the Buffalo Roam.  Add some of the wine to the stew and then enjoy the rest of Rhone while the dish is cooking and maybe find another buffalo for the table.

Recipe: Beef Short Ribs Stew

Like most stews, allow about 2 1/2 hours for the most tender stew meat. A small extra step thickens the stew and infuses more flavor.  Cook and drink with a medium body Syrah, Grenache or Rhone Blend wine.


  • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs. beef short ribs
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 orange carrots
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup medium body dry red wine
  • water or beef stock
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-3 medium red or Yukon gold potatoes


  1. Brown:  dry ribs with a paper towel if necessary.  In a clean paper or plastic bag, combine ribs and flour and shake until ribs are well coated.  In a Dutch oven or high-sided (4″ minimum) large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot.  Shake off excess flour from ribs and place meat side down onto heated oil.  Turn and brown the ribs on all sides and ends, lowering heat to prevent scorching.
  2. Cut: while ribs are browning, peel and smash garlic cloves.  Cut carrots, celery, onion and potatoes into 1 1/4″ chunks.  When ribs are browned on all sides, remove to a bowl or plate.  Add 1 teaspoon more oil to the same skillet if necessary, heat, and add all of the garlic, and half of the  onion.  Saute until onion’s edges become translucent; add half of the carrots and half of the celery.  Saute until celery starts to soften, about 2 minutes.
  3. Braise: deglaze pan with red wine, stirring to loosen brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan for about a minute.  Return ribs to pan, meat side down.  Cover with water or broth until the liquid comes about 60% up the sides of the ribs.  Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer to braise; cover pan with a tight-fitting lid.  Braise for 30-40 minutes, then flip over ribs; recover with lid.  After another 40 minutes, remove ribs from pan.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop out as much of the cooked vegetables as possible and place into a separate bowl from the ribs.  Return the ribs to the skillet, add thyme, cover and cook for another 40 minutes.
  4. Puree: add the potatoes and  remaining half of onion, carrots and celery to the ribs; cover and cook.  Puree the cooled cooked vegetables and any accompanying liquid in a small food processor until the mixture looks like a wet paste.  Add the paste to the stew stirring in well.  Cover and continue cooking until ribs are tender, another 20-40 minutes or so.
  5. Serve:  remove thyme stems, taste and adjust seasoning, add more liquid if desired.  Remove bones to serve if desired.  Accompany with rice, smashed potatoes, polenta or couscous.

Serves 3-4.

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