You could go out on New Year’s Eve and overpay for a mediocre meal. Or, you could eat an amazing dinner at home and drink a bunch of moderately priced red wine and not have to deal with anything but a full belly and your bed (and maybe a wine hangover). We’re opting for the latter and you should, too!
THE MEAT: We love cooking short ribs in the winter; cold weather begs for red wine and rich beef. Plus, because they’re slow cooked, your home will smell amazing for hours. (And probably the next day, too.)
THE METHOD: Braising meats is the way to go in the winter. For the braise, red wine and beef stock create a harmonious one-two punch of flavor, but we add a bit of balsamic vinegar for a slight acidic kick. It’s subtle, but it makes a big difference. We also like to add a round of mushrooms about an hour before the end of the cook time. This way the mushrooms will cook and soak up the wonderful flavors of the braise, but unlike the carrots and celery that go in at the beginning, they’ll still have some life in them so you can serve them with the ribs.
THE MEAL: Serve the braised short ribs and mushrooms on top of buttery, garlicky mashed potatoes. And because you didn’t buy just one bottle of wine (right?!), drink more. Lots more. Because it’s finally the end of this awful year and that’s something to celebrate.
Wine-Braised Short Ribs
8 thick short ribs, 5-6 pounds
Olive oil (½ cup + 2 tablespoons)
Balsamic vinegar (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped in half
3 carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh parsley
3 bay leaves
500 milliliters red wine (basically pour yourself a healthy glass and add the rest to the recipe)
32 ounces beef stock
8 ounces mushrooms, either whole or cut in half
Cover the short ribs with the olive oil, ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar and generous amounts of salt and pepper. Place in a covered bowl or freezer bag and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, take the short ribs out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 350ºF.
Warm a 7.5-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter, then brown the short ribs in two batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Brown each rib for about 8 minutes, turning so the browning is even on all sides.
Set the ribs aside and add the onions and garlic to the pan. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Then add the carrots and celery and allow to cook for another five minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove the brown bits. Reduce the wine by about half and add the short ribs back to the pan. Add half of the thyme, half of the parsley, the bay leaves, beef stock and remaining two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover and put it in the oven.
After the short ribs have cooked in the oven for 90 minutes, add the mushrooms to the pot as well as the remaining thyme and parsley. Cook for another hour.
Serve the short ribs and mushrooms on mashed potatoes.