Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Braised Short Ribs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Sometimes life makes you feel a little crazy, then it'll do something that makes you feel a lotta crazy. Take this week for example: Eric starts his new job, is all happy and excited until Charisse calls after getting home from work and finding the fish tank empty and the floor all wet. What a terrific way to end your second day at a new job; "Uhm, my fish tank is broken and my bed room is flooded, I've got to go". Nice. Charisse on the other hand has been battling slugs and other little critters in the garden all week. Now that she's got her garden all up and going and stuff is growing every time she goes out there, there are little holes in everything! After coming this far, the thought of loosing everything to the little buggers has got Charisse in full battle mode! Every evening there's a new battle cry coming from behind the computer: "Citrus, I'll get them with citrus!" or something like that. We honestly can't print most of her battle cries, this is a family blog after all but her determination is something fierce, Eric will vouch for that. We're super excited about the garden, though for now we're still harvesting at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods (and Safeway on occasion). Speaking of harvesting at Safeway, the last time we were there we came back with some rough cut short ribs, and decided to give the oven a good 6 hour workout. Seriously. This one braised for 5 hours the night before, then cooked for another hour before serving. When they say "falls off the bone" this is what they are talking about (who "they" are is a whole new topic). Not to mention this is on the healthier side of meat dishes, the braising draws out quite a bit of the fatty content which congeals on top and gets thrown out, which is pretty fun in and of itself. We've done braised short ribs before, but never like this, with a terrific tomato sauce. The trick to taking this from awesome to "omgwhatisthisitsamazingwliohwghagh" is letting it sit over night. All the flavors intermingle and intermix and the whole pot becomes a big pot of YUM.

Braised Short Ribs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
What You Will Need

8-10 short ribs
1 large onion chopped
5 cloves garlic minced
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 28 ounce can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup port 
2 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary
1 Tbs oregano
1 tsp thyme
a handful of fresh basil chopped
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs oil
cayenne pepper
red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 275*

In a large dutch oven, heat oil until hot. Salt and pepper the short ribs and brown on all sides. Work in batches if necessary and transfer to a plate. Throw in the onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until translucent. Next carefully pour in the port and using a wooden spoon scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Mix in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add salt, cayenne, and red pepper flakes until desired level of spiciness. 

Return the short ribs into the pot, doing your best to submerge them in the sauce. Cover and place in oven. Cook for 5 hours until the meat is extremely tender and falling off the bone. It is a good idea to make the ribs up to this point the night before you are going to serve them. The flavor is way better! 

If serving the next day: Remove the ribs from the sauce and refrigerate separately. The fat on the sauce will harden overnight in the fridge and you can just crack it off the top. To reheat, simmer the sauce over the stove top and re submerge  the ribs, then you can either just keep reheating it over the stove top or place back in the oven at 275* for 1 hour. 

If serving immediately: Spoon off as much fat from the top of the sauce as possible 

Taste the sauce once more to check the flavor adding what ever you think it needs more of. 

Serve over freshly cooked pasta with some romano cheese 


  1. I love short ribs. These look really good. Lately I have been craving winter foods like this even though the weather is slowly warming up to spring temperatures.

  2. ME TOO! This has all the flavors I crave...that sauce - oh, to sop that up!

  3. Wow, I can only imagine how flavorful this is! I need to taste test it myself :)

  4. I have been putting off making short ribs, but I can't any longer! Especially before the weather gets hot!

    Need any help battling bugs? I work in ag and know a thing or two about killing bugs :) Tell me what they look like, color, number of legs, wings or not and I'll tell ya how to kill 'em (mostly organically) ;)

    P.S. Thanks for the sweet comments on my site lately :) Y'all are too kind!

  5. I love short ribs and these look so flavorful and tender. Great post and recipe!

  6. That's just pure love right there. Wow! Looks incredible, your photos are mouth watering. Now that's short ribs done right. =]

  7. I just love meat that is falling off the bone and the sauce looks absolutely rich and delicious!