Monday, November 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes

There is nothing better on a chilly Sunday afternoon than firing up the slow cooker. The sumptuous smell of slow-cooked meat fills the house with an intoxicating aroma. Short ribs work great in a slow cooker because the meat becomes meltingly tender and luscious. The sauce of red wine and chicken broth gets a kick from balsamic vinegar, and reduces to perfection. There is a little bit of work involved to get this recipe ready for the slow cooker, but it is so worthwhile. Removing the meat and bones and heating the bones in the microwave first removes excess fat and increases the depth of flavor. Serve the meat and sauce over perfect mashed potatoes for a heartwarming winter meal.

Slow Cooker Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Tender meat in a rich sauce served over buttery mashed potatoes.

Serves 4
3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, meat and bones separated
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped medium
1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium
1 celery rib, chopped medium
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups dry red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Arrange beef bones in a dish and microwave  until well browned, 10 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.

Dry short ribs with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown short ribs well on all sides, 5-7 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.

Add onions, carrot, celery, tomato paste, and thyme to fat in skillet and cook over medium-high heat until onions are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in wine and vinegar, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Bring to simmer and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir broth and bay leaves into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

Transfer short ribs to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Strain braising liquid, discarding solids, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon 1 cup sauce over short ribs and serve with remaining sauce.

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Mashed Potatoes
You can't beat a classic! Buttery mashed potatoes are the perfect bed for short ribs.
Serves 4

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in even pieces
1 cup milk, roomtemperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper

Place potatoes in pan and cover completely with cold water. Heat over high heat until boiling, boil for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain, then return to same pot, cover and let sit (not on the heat) to dry, 5 minutes. Add butter and slowly add milk, mashing until it reaches the desired consistency. Serve hot with short ribs and extra sauce.

Recipe by Sarah Lang