Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs

This year for St. Paddy's day I was pretty certain I wanted to make Guinness Stew. But then I got to thinking, since this is my first official food holiday since starting my blog a couple weeks ago, I should do something a little more special. So I became inspired to rework a rustic Guinness Stew into a more refined Guiness-Braised Short Ribs.

I love short ribs. They have so much potential for deliciousness. Braised in a flavorful liquid, the meat becomes unctuous and fork-tender and the bones and fat impart a lovely richness to the sauce. The main pitfall to watch out for when cooking short ribs is avoiding a ultra greasy sauce. I combat this in a couple of ways. First I prebake the short-ribs for about an hour in a super hot oven. This renders a lot of initial fat (I ended up with a good half cup), and at the same time browns the short ribs up nicely, developing great flavor. The other step, which in my opinion is a crucial one, I let the braising liquid fully cool overnight in the refrigerator before serving. The excess fat solidifies and you can easily remove it the next day before reheating. And if you are at all familiar with what happens to soup and stew after they hang around for a day or two, often times they taste better as they sit & this is certainly the case here.

I also decided, in the spirit of my refined St. Paddy's day feast, instead of stewing all my veggies together in the braising liquid, I'd make a separate side dish of glazed parsnips, carrots and pearl onions. I hope you enjoy these recipes. We certainly did.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs
~serves 6~

Serve this dish over mashed potatoes along with Glazed Parsnips, Carrots and Pearl Onions (recipe follows).

5 lb. beef short ribs
3 med. onions, chopped
2 med. carrots, chopped
2 T. flour
1 1/2 c. Guinness beer
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. minced fresh thyme
1 T. light brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 T. apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper
freshly minced parsley

1. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place ribs, bone-side down in a large roasting pan. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, drain off fat, ( a bulb tukey baster works well) reserving 2 tablespoons. Continue to roast 15 more minutes, 1 hour total. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

2. Remove ribs to a large plate, set aside. Immediately add the Guinness to the roasting pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the drippings left in the pan from the roasted ribs. Set the roasting pan with the beer aside.

3.Heat the reserved 2 tablespoons beef drippings in a large, oven proof dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots, saute, stirring occasionally until vegetables soften, about 12 minutes. Stir flour into vegetables, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add beer from the roasting pan, chicken broth, chocolate, thyme, brown sugar, bay leaves and cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil. Add the ribs and return to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to simmer for 2 hours (ribs should be tender and starting to fall off the bone).

4. Transfer the ribs to a large plate. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer, into a large bowl, pressing on the cooked vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Cover ribs and liquid with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. (Ribs can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

5. When ready to serve, spoon off the solidified fat from the braising liquid. Pour into the dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium heat adjusting the seasoning to taste. Add the ribs to the simmering sauce to reheat   (this should take 10-15 minutes). Serve the sauce over the ribs, garnishing with parsley.

Skillet Glazed Parsnips, Carrots and Pearl Onions
~serves 4~

1 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1 1/2 lb. mix of parsnips and carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 - 3/4 inch pieces
6 oz. frozen pearl onions (do not thaw)
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 T.sugar
1 t. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Melt butter in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When the foam subsides add parsnips and carrots in a single layer and cook undisturbed 4 minutes (vegetables should be beginning to brown, if not cook until they brown). Add pearl onions, cook 2 minutes, stir, cook 2 more minutes (everything should be well browned at this point). Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium low, cover skillet. Simmer until tender about 6 minutes. Remove lid, increase heat to high and simmer, stirring frequently until the cooking liquid reduces to a glaze, about 1 minute. Serve.


  1. Thanks for your comment at Home is Where The Cookies Are!
    I am a HUGE short rib fan - even though the first time I ever made them was just this year! I'm pretty sure you can't go wrong by braising them in Guiness - this looks delicious!

  2. i bet dan is really happy you started this blog ; ) everything looks absolutely amazing!