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Because my family lives so far away, we’re not always able to get together at the holidays. Even though we might not be gathering around a table laden with turkey and plenty of potatoes, our smaller family holiday meal is no less festive. One dish I love to make that feels fancy but is mostly hands-off is short ribs. They only need a few minutes of browning time before braising in the oven. We like ours with mashed potatoes, but you can also serve them with cheesy polenta, risotto or even pasta.
3 pounds short ribs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle (750 milliliters) cabernet sauvignon
1 cup beef stock
2 bay leaves
4 3-inch sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear short ribs on all sides and remove to a plate.
2. Reduce heat to medium and stir in garlic and onion, scraping the bottom of the pot. Cook 2 minutes, then add carrot and continue to cook 5 minutes, until carrot is softened. Stir in tomato paste until well mixed.
3. Add wine, beef stock, bay leaves and thyme and stir well. Arrange short ribs in the pot, making sure as much of the meat is submerged as possible. Cover, place in the oven and cook 3 hours.
4. Carefully remove short ribs from the pot (if you want to serve with the bone intact), place them on a platter and tent with foil.
5. Strain the liquid in the pot to remove solids and simmer until reduced by half, adding salt or pepper if needed. Serve short ribs over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned on top.