A rich comforting stew of braised short ribs and butternut squash to warm you up on a chilly night. Beef short ribs are braised in the oven with red wine, cinnamon and a few other goodies, until they're fork-tender and falling off the bone. The bones are removed and butternut squash is added for the last half hour of cooking. This is a great make-ahead recipe for a family dinner or for entertaining friends. The meat is unbelievably tender and the flavors are fantastically delicious.
Everyone loves beef short ribs. Because the meat is well marbled, two hours of braising results in incredibly juicy and tender beef. With a nod to Middle Eastern cuisine, I've used cinnamon, star anise and orange zest to infuse this succulent beef and butternut stew with warm, earthy, aromatic flavors. As the short ribs braise in the oven, heavenly aromas will get you excited about the delicious comforting meal to come.
Tips for Making Excellent Braised Short Ribs
Short ribs on the bone are an ideal cut of meat for braising because of their good marbleization, small flecks of fat spread evenly throughout the muscle (red meat). These fat bits soften and melt when the meat is cooked under the low heat of a braise, yielding tender, juicy, falling-apart meat. Also, the marrow in the short rib bones releases gelatin into the braising liquid and enriches the sauce.
To maximize the flavor and tenderness of braised beef short ribs, follow these simple steps for browning the beef and defatting the sauce:
- How to Brown The Beef: Browning the short ribs before adding them to the braising liquid creates a delicious layer of flavor to a braise and it also seals the beef so it gets extra tender and juicy as it cooks. Here's how to get short ribs nicely browned:
- Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Dry meat browns well whereas damp meat creates steam which prevents browning.
- Heat the oil up before adding the beef to the pan, so it sizzles when it hits the oil.
- Always take care not to crowd the pot (work in batches if need be) because crowding will cause the beef to steam in its own juices rather than brown.
- For maximum browning, leave the ribs undisturbed for a minute or so on each side, rather than tossing them over and over.
- How To Defat the Sauce: As the marbled fat in short ribs softens and melts, lots of that melted fat gets into the braising liquid. For rich flavorful sauce that isn't greasy, most of that fat needs to be removed. Here are two methods for degreasing the braising liquid:
- The easiest degreasing method is to chill the sauce in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the top and harden, and it can be easily removed, leaving a rich, delicious non-greasy sauce underneath.
- If you're serving the short ribs the same day you cook them, you'll have to scoop out the fat out with a spoon. This takes a bit of time and patience, but it works well. Let the sauce sit for ten minutes or so after it comes out of the oven. You'll see little pools of fat floating on top. Lower a teaspoon slowly down into that fat pool, just deep enough to let the fat flow in from all sides and fill up the spoon, but not deep enough to let any of the sauce slip in. Pour out the fat and repeat, moving the spoon to different areas of the pot, wherever you see little pools of oil, until you've removed most of the fat.
How To Make Braised Short Ribs with Butternut Squash and Cinnamon
To make this delicious short ribs stew with winter squash, start by pan-frying the ribs in a little oil, to brown them on all sides.
Once the meat is browned, set it aside in a bowl and sauté the chopped carrots, shallots and garlic until they soften and turn golden brown. Then add the red wine.
Simmer the wine until most of it evaporates, to intensify the flavors. Then add the tomatoes.
Add in the cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, orange zest, fresh thyme and rosemary, black pepper, and salt. Then add the short ribs back to the pot, stir everything together, cover the pot and set it in a 325ºF oven to braise, undisturbed, for two hours.
SHORT RIBS BEFORE AND AFTER BRAISING
Set the meat aside while you defat the sauce. This can be done with a spoon while the sauce is warm, or you can refrigerate the sauce and the meat separately, overnight, and remove the hardened fat layer from the sauce the next day. (See more details above in the section on "How to braise short ribs.")
Once the sauce is defatted, return the meat to the pot along with cubed butternut squash and 1 ¼ cups of water. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook gently for 30-40 minutes, covered, until the squash is nice and tender and infused with flavor from the sauce.
Garnish the stew with chopped parsley and lemon zest and serve. These bright flavors add wonderful freshness and color to the dish.
What To Serve It With
Here's the Braised Beef Short Ribs Recipe. If you cook this, I hope you'll come back to leave a comment and a star rating. I'd love to know what you think!Print