January 9, 2011

braised short ribs with parmesan risotto

This meal is the best thing I've put in my belly in a long time. Well... since Christmas dinner. That wasn't too long ago actually.

Anyway, it's really good. It's everything a homemade meal should be - slow cooked meat that is super tender and flavorful sitting atop rich, creamy risotto. You have to make this one. This week. I mean it.

Guess what I got for Christmas from my parents? This sweet dutch oven cast iron pot. Be still my heart.

It was another snowy weekend in Delaware. Instead of craving fudgy brownies or soft chocolate chip cookies, I wanted something warm and savory. I also wanted to test the waters with this new kitchen tool, so I bought some short ribs and decided to go all out.

Okay I was still craving brownies and cookies but I made this meal anyway.

Short ribs have a lot of fat on them, but some of it is cooked away during the braising process. Start by sprinkling the short ribs with salt, pepper and flour. Heat up some oil in an oven-safe pot and put the short ribs in.

This will help get a nice crust on the outside of the meat, so only cook each side for about a minute. Once all sides are browned, take them out and set aside for later.

Lower the heat and add whatever kind of vegetables you want. I used onion, celery, carrot, peas, corn and garlic. The scent is out of control.

Let those cook for 7 to 10 minutes, then add beef broth. Let that reduce for another couple of minutes, then nestle those beautiful short ribs into the vegetables.

Cover the whole thing with more beef broth (make sure all the meat is covered), cover the pot, then stick that heavy thing in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. We are talking fall-off-the-bone tender here, people.

While that's cooking, it's time to get some exercise! And by exercise, I mean standing over a hot stove stirring rice for 30 minutes. It's worth it, I promise.

Risotto is a challenging, elusive creature. I have tried (and failed) several times to make it right, but this time was finally a winner. A serious winner. Like, so good I wanted to eat this risotto every day for the rest of my life.

Start with white arborio rice. Heat up a large saucepan over medium-low heat, then add butter, minced shallot and garlic. Let that cook for just a few minutes, then add the rice.

By the way, have another saucepan filled with beef broth warming up on the stove. Every time you add broth to the rice, you want it to be warm.

Let the rice toast for a few minutes before adding any liquid. This gets everything heated up and ready to go.

Start adding your warm broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Let all the liquid absorb into the rice each time before adding more. Keep working with it - adding broth, stirring, waiting, sweating, wondering why you are doing this and then remembering what risotto tastes like...

Then you magically have this!

Once the risotto is cooked perfectly - creamy, delicious, etc. Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and some pepper. Stir until the cheese melts and then go ice your arm for 15 minutes.

Just kidding. Then you can EAT it. Best reward ever.

Plop a big spoonful, or a couple big spoonfuls, of risotto onto a plate. Put 2 short ribs on top, and pour the delicious sauce and vegetables over it. (Just remember to skim some of the fat off the top of pot the short ribs are in!)

It's so good. It really is. Enjoy this one guys!

Braised Short Ribs

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of beef short ribs, bone in
3 to 4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 whole carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup corn kernals
4 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat up a large oven-safe pot over high heat. Add oil.

Dredge the short ribs in flour, salt and pepper. Shake off excess, then add to pan. Brown each side on the ribs for 1 minute each, until all sides are brown. Put on a plate and set aside.

Reduce heat to low and add in all vegetables. Stir and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of beef stock and cook 5 minutes or until reduced. Remove pot from heat. Nestle the short ribs back into the pot, and cover with remaining beef broth. Cover pot and bake at 325 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. When it comes out of the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes, then skim the fat off the top before serving.

Parmesan Risotto

3 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups white arborio rice
8 to 10 cups beef broth
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pour all the beef broth into a saucepan over medium heat. Keep the broth warm throughout the whole process.

Add butter to large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and garlic, cook for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Add rice and stir constantly, letting the rice heat through about 5 minutes.

Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the broth to be completely absorbed into the rice before adding more. Keep stirring, adding broth, stirring, adding broth for about 25 or 30 minutes. Check the rice to make sure it's done. You may need to add more broth and let that cook out if the rice still has a strong bite to it.

Once it's done, remove from heat and add parmesan cheese and pepper. Stir until melted. Serve immediately.


  1. I see myself having quite a serious love affair with this meal. Short ribs PLUS risotto. I think I would be in Italian indulgence heaven.

  2. We made short ribs last night! They are a little taste of heaven.

    And I'm glad the risotto worked out! I've never made it with beef broth... definitely have to try that soon!

  3. These look wonderful. I have a short rib question. Despite cooking for at least 2 hours (and as long as 3) they never really end up as tender as I expect. Do you have tips? Could it be that I'm somehow buying poor quality meat or are my expectations off somehow?

  4. I love reading your recipes. You make cooking sound so easy and fun that I want to jump right up and start cooking. This one does sound delicious.