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Slow cooker short ribs with polenta

Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Short ribs take time, but very little attention. I recommend planning two days in total before serving so that you can cook them as long as needed to become tender and then to defat the broth. This recipe includes instructions for traditional braised short ribs, slow cooker short ribs and Instantpot short ribs. You can substitute oxtails since they require the same technique for producing a luscious bowl of braised beef to serve over polenta (my favorite) or a host of other sides.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword braised short ribs
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • about 5 pounds meaty short ribs
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 14-ounce can tomato puree
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

For all methods:

  1. Season the short ribs all over generously with kosher salt, including the sides and the fat.

Slow Cooker Method:

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet or enameled cast iron braising pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and when it shimmers add the short ribs fat side down. This will render some of the fat and promote more browning. Use tongs to check for a walnut-brown color before turning. Continue searing and turning until all sides of the short ribs are deeply browned, about 15 minutes.

  2. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onions and carrots until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it darkens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir to release all of the browned bits from the pan.

  3. Transfer the vegetables and wine into the slow cooker pot. Add the tomato puree, stock, garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper and bay leaves. Nestle the short ribs into the liquids and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Traditional Oven Method:

  1. Follow the slow cooker instructions using a large enameled cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid. After cooking the vegetables, add the tomato puree, stock, garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper and bay leaves. Nestle the short ribs into the liquid and bring to a simmer.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cover the pot and braise in the oven for 4 hours.

InstantPot Method:

  1. Select the saute setting and the time for 20 minutes. Add the oil to the pot and, working in batches, sear the short ribs fat side down. This will render some of the fat and promote more browning. Use tongs to check for a walnut-brown color before turning. Continue searing and turning until all sides of the short ribs are deeply browned and set them aside. Add additional time to the saute setting as necessary.

  2. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and cook the onions and carrots until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it darkens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir to release all of the browned bits from the pan. Add the tomato puree, stock, garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper and bay leaves. Nestle the short ribs into the liquid.

  3. Secure the lid and pressure cook the short ribs for 45 minutes. Allow the steam to release naturally.

To finish the short ribs for all methods:

  1. Test the short ribs to be sure they are tender by inserting a fork into the meat and twisting. If it breaks apart easily, it's ready. Use tongs to lift the short ribs from the cooking liquid and place them in a bowl. Once the short ribs are cool enough to handle remove all the bones and trim the fat. Add it back into the cooking liquid. When the cooking liquid has cooled--in a few hours or overnight--spoon the fat from the surface.

  2. To serve, reheat the short ribs over low heat until gently bubbling. Taste for seasoning before serving as desired.