Daring Cooks March '12 Challenge: Brave The Braise (Port-Braised Beef Short Ribs)


Is it really the middle of March already? I swear it was just January like two days ago.

Okay. You convinced me. It's really March and time for another Daring Cooks challenge.

The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.

My first major experience with tackling braised beef was Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguinon. This was a few years ago and I was a heck of a lot less seasoned than I am today (not that I am perfectly seasoned now - I still have a LONG way to go). Man, I was such a neophyte. I don't know how I made it through the experience - I just didn't know what I didn't know...

Since then, I have tackled versions from Gourmet, Dorie Greenspan, Michael Ruhlman & a few others. I'd like to think I've become somewhat better, although it seems like I learn something new with each recipe I've tried.

This time, I learned that it was possible to braise ribs without making a total mess of the stove top and my person.

I am not sure to what I owe this amazing feat, but I made a meal without wearing a portion of it.

This, my friends, is a good thing.

In my typical fashion, I totally forgot about the gremolata. Usually, I will make it. Place it in the fridge. Eat dinner and about the time I am putting away the leftovers, remember that I made it. This time, I didn't even remember to make the gremolata. Yeah, it was like that... (Oh well, a few less dishes to wash, right?)

The ribs were served with Irish Soda Bread & Cheese Souffles (not shown). I could have really used that gremolata to break up the richness of the rest of the meal.

Port-Braised Beef Short Ribs
Adapted from Ruhlman's Twenty

2 Tbs Safflower oil , for browning the ribs (can use any mild to non-flavored oil)
1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, for dredging
8 beef short ribs - bone in
2 large onions (I like to use a sweet onion), cut into a large dice

Kosher Salt, 1-2 Tbs
6 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 celery stalks cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups Port
1 head of garlic, skin removed

2 bay leaves
1/3 cup honey
1/2 Tbs cracked peppercorns

1 Tbs butter


In a 5.5 Qt (or larger) Dutch oven, heat ~2 Tbs of oil (should cover the bottom of the pot). Place the flour in a shallow dish & dredge the ribs, shaking off the excess.

Once the oil has heated through, add the meat & brown on all sides. Don't overcrowd the meat - there should be space between the meat so that it can caramelize - you may have to brown in batches. Once browned, remove the ribs & drain on paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 250F.

Once the ribs are done cooking, drain off any excess oil & wipe the pot clean. Add a light coating of oil to the bottom of the pot & add half the onions. Saute the onions for ~5 minutes; they should soften, but not really brown (they are going to cook longer). Add a teaspoon or so of Kosher salt and add half the carrots & all of the celery.  Saute over medium heat for about ten to fifteen minutes to develop some color. Stir in the tomato paste & then return the ribs to the pan. Add the Port, then top with the garlic cloves, bay leaves, salt, honey & crushed peppercorns. 

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then partially cover the pot with a lid (you can set parchment down on top of everything if you are worried about splatters) and place in the oven and let cook for ~4 - 5 hours - until meat is fork tender.
Remove the pot from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Remove the ribs from the pot, place them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate. Strain out the braising liquid into a glass measuring cup. Place in the refrigerator until the fat separates. 

When you are ready to finish the dish, remove the braising liquid from the refrigerator and skim the fat off the top. Melt butter in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot. Add the remaining onion & carrots and  saute until softened (~5 minutes). Return the ribs to the pot. Cover with reserved braising liquid & return to a simmer. Cover & cook over low heat until carrots are cooked to your liking (~10-20 minutes).

Serve with cooked vegetables & ladle braising liquids over top.

This post participates in The Daring Cooks.


  1. Looks fantastic - you are so accomplished! And, great idea to combine multiple challenges into one meal! John was just saying we should make Dorie's Braised Short Ribs again.

  2. Everything looks so tasty and your braised short ribs with soda bread and cheese souffle sounds spot-on to my taste buds. The meat looks so tender and moist a marvellous job on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. These look great - when I saw the title of this I thought "oh that will be a snap for you" since I KNOW you've made amazing braised short ribs before!

  4. How delicious. Short ribs aren't as scary anymore after I made Dorie's as well. These look great!

  5. I will NEVER get tired of short ribs! I literally can't get enough of them. Yours look unbelievably mouth watering, wow! Thanks for making me crave short ribs for breakfast lol Great post!

  6. I keep coming back to this, but no woman who makes her own bacon need ever worry a good braise. You made bacon, for pete's sake. (And short ribs and a souffle in the same day is mighty impressive....) Me, I can't even handle twitter. ;)

  7. Ribs were very popular for this challenge - I braised mine in stout. (love how you got in your TWD and ffwd recipes at the same time)

  8. I don't even eat beef, and that ribs still looks too tempting!!

  9. Port and beef sounds like a winning combination!

  10. Oh, YUM. Your short ribs look AMAZING. And add to that that you made them with little mess?? That's pretty impressive :) Really awesome job on the challenge!!

  11. Fantastic job! I have been wanting to make short ribs for a long time now! And yes, I cannot seem to get near the stovetop without making a gigantic mess! How does that happen? LOL

  12. I too have been finding myself remembering those short ribs and I remember how many of us forgot the gremolata. Not me, as I think that is the piece that pushes this dish into classic territory. There just isn't any meal I'd rather have than short ribs. And there isn't any leftover I would rather have than short rib sandwiches! This looks fantastic you conservative woman you! :)

  13. I have a bottle of delicious port, that I am thinking will need to be used to make delicious short ribs, your look fantastic!

  14. Wow! The whole meal sounds divine and your ribs look so luscious and tender. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my face. Great job!

  15. Fabulous braise! And the port addition sounds incredible - I can totally imagine the flavor profile! I am so glad you enjoyed the challenge - Well Done!


Hi - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you!

Due to the high number of weirdo SPAM comments I have been receiving, I have turned comment moderation back on for the time being... Comments may show a slight delay.