Beef, Main Dishes, Menu Ideas, Recipes

Valentines Dinner Idea – Beer Braised Short Ribs

Veal Braised Short Ribs (2)
Served with Sinful Potato Gratin & Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a crazy generalization here: most men like beer. Obviously as a pint but if you can incorporate beer into any other part of their daily nutritious intake, I doubt they would mind.I’ve been quite successful over the years, braising my new best friend–short ribs–in wine and spices but not so much with beer. It was time for another shot. Using Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout which brought tears to my friends’ eyes–apparently it’s pretty hard to come by and NOT meant for cooking with. Though I learned early on you don’t cook with cheap wine, so why wouldn’t the same apply to beer? Rare ale and all, this recipe might have achieved perfection.

I actually made this recipe first for New Year’s Day. In general, my husband and I tend to keep to ourselves during the festive holidays. Once upon a time I convinced myself I would go, at least once, to celebrate the ball drop in Times Square. Luckily I came to my senses in my late 20s and have now decided the only way I’ll “be there” is if it’s from a window in the Marriott overlooking all those fools outside. Only a $1000 a night stay, 2 night minimum. Hmm, perhaps one day. So New Year’s Eve is usually spent at one of our favorite restaurants, Seersucker this year, and New Year’s Day is spent staying cozy in our apartment as I take on a new recipe challenge.

My inspiration came when I found veal short ribs at the Park Slope Food Coop. I had never seen or heard of veal short ribs. Of course I knew they had to exist. It’s the same animal after all, just a bit more grown up. I was intrigued. That in combination with the coop’s fantastic and underpriced beer selection sealed the deal.

A sweet/savory rub of brown sugar and spices helped to perfectly balance the stout braise. Rubbing the ribs and letting them marinate overnight (at least) is key, allowing the flavors to seep into the meat, flavoring it completely through. To be honest, I’m not sure the veal made a difference. Generally veal is a bit more tender, but when you’re braising the heck out of a meat, the original tender/chewiness doesn’t really come into play. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to find veal short ribs again. For a $1 or so extra a pound, it adds up with small meals, but even with beef short ribs, this recipe is guaranteed to shine.  And once the ribs are finished, you’ll still be mopping up the sauce with potatoes or bread–anything you can get your hands on (fingers are perfectly acceptable!).

Veal Braised Short Ribs (3)

Ale Braised Veal Short Ribs (Serves 2)

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 4 veal short ribs, about 3lb (beef ribs are just fine too!)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 c dark ale
  • 2 c beef broth
  • 1 tbsp flour
In a small bowl mix brown sugar, sea salt, garlic, allspice, mustard, paprika, thyme, cayenne and a few turns of fresh ground pepper. Place short ribs in a shallow baking dish and rub generously with spices, being sure to use the whole mix! Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Veal Braised Short Ribs (1)
Preheat over to 300°F. Heat oil in a medium dutch oven. Add ribs, searing all sides until well browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to a large plate and keep warm. Add carrots, celery and onion to the dutch oven and saute until soft. Add beer and broth, being sure to scrape any brown bits from the pan. Bring mixture to a boil and add ribs back in. Reduce heat, cover and cook on the lower part of oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Transfer ribs to an oven proof shallow baking dish, discarding any bones that separate from meat, and keep warm. Strain sauce into a medium saucepan and discard vegetables. Skim fat from sauce and bring to a slow boil, reducing by 1/3, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Veal Braised Short Ribs (4)
Heat broiler. In a small bowl mix flour with about 1/4 cup sauce to make a smooth paste. Reincorporate flour mixture to sauce, whisking until sauce is smooth and has thickened. Pour about 1/2 cup sauce over ribs and broil for 5-7 minutes to caramelize. Serve ribs with extra sauce on the side.
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4 thoughts on “Valentines Dinner Idea – Beer Braised Short Ribs”

  1. Oh my gosh, Mel this looks so delicious!! Ribs are one of my absolute favourite things. I’ve only cooked beef/veal short ribs once but you’ve made me want to get the pan out and start cooking!! Happy Valentines for Friday! xx

    1. Thanks Laura! Definitely go for it! Though with it being summer for you, maybe not the best time to heat up the oven and braise something. I recently had a pretty awesome charred short rib dish, served in a sizzling pan. Maybe that would be a good option for now 🙂

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