Short Ribs or, Jacobs Ladder as they are better known as in England and Plat de Cote in France, is a delicious, economical beef choice. As a guide, I pay about Euro 8 per kilo from a good class of butcher but I suspect that it must be possible to find even cheaper outlets.

In common with cheaper cuts, short ribs require a long, slow, moist method of cooking such as braising but they are also excellent when marinated (to tenderize) and barbequed. Short ribs have excellent flavor but it is the long, slow cooking in a vapour which produces velvet like texture. As it cooks the creamy fat melts away, basting and softening the meat as it does..

The choice of braising liquid is down to individual taste but an acidic base helps break down tough fibers in the same manner as a marinade works. After that flavourings and vegetables can be added or omitted according to what you find in the kitchen cupboards.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

serves 4

  • Olive oil
  • 1¼ kg short ribs, uncut
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 250g mushrooms, wiped and quartered
  • 1tsp. thyme leaves
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely chopped
  • Pinch oak smoked salt (or sea salt)
  • Pepper
  • 350ml red wine (about ½ of a bottle)
  • 350ml beef stock

Preheat the oven to 160C

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan until very hot; carefully add the ribs and brown on all sides. Transfer to a casserole with a tight fitting lid, bone side downwards.

Reduce the heat of the frying pan, add the onion to soften but not colour. Stir in the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the mixture resembles a rich marmalade. Pour over the ribs, cover and place in the preheated oven for 3hrs. Check occasionally, adding a little water if required.

Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

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