Braised Short Rib of Beef

Do you know that in a single braise from a rib of beef you get two very different beef dishes for a family of four? For all us busy parents this is a no-brainer. I mentioned in my Courier column that I would make this dish at home and take some photographs of it – please excuse the quality, photography was never my strong point!

I hope what it does illustrate is that a value for money cut is something very special and deserves to be on the home cook’s menu a lot! I have also kept the recipe very simple, feel free to tweak with some of your own flavours.

With this dish the first meal to be eaten is the rib. This frees up the rib bones.  You can see in the first picture you simply carve the big cap of meat off, so you end up with the single joint as pictured in the second picture.











Braised beef
Braised beef

Now, for those big sticky ribs, all you have to do is gently carve them apart equally, so each person has a bone with lovely succulent meat attached. Serve this with your favourite potatoes and vegetables. For me, I love it with sweet carrots, a big spoonful of mustard mash and a spoonful of the gravy that’s left from the braising.

For the next dish, I placed the cap into the fridge along with the remaining gravy which I strained. This was good for later in the week when we enjoyed our second family meal from this joint. To reheat, simply carve slices around 1cm thick and warm in the reserved gravy in the oven, the meat will become very tender once again; serve with what you like, as you can see in the picture my wife made some buttered cabbage and crispy sweet potatoes. We’ve also had it with roast beetroot and watercress salad with some horseradish creme fraiche. Amazing!


So, to braise the beef follow the recipe below. Ask your butcher for a trimmed four bone whole piece of short rib, often known as Jacobs ladder. If on doubt just show him the picture on the blog!

2k approx beef short rib joint

2 onions peeled and quartered

2 carrots peeled and halved lengthways

2 cloves garlic peeled, halved and germ removed

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 glasses of reasonible quality red wine

2 teaspoons honey

Sprig of fresh thyme

2 fresh bay leaves

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 150 degees

Remove your beef from the fridge 1 hour before you start cooking.

Select a big pan for braising your beef that will work equally well for frying on the stove as well as baking in the oven. If you don’t have one, use a large frying pan then transfer everything into a large casserole dish that you can place in the oven.

  • Season the beef well with salt and pepper. Heat the pan on the stove and add some olive till very hot, carefully place the beef in and brown on all sides, this will take several minutes so please be patient.
  • Remember to carefully move the beef onto each side, it’s not a light joint, so perhaps ask for assistance, it’s crucial you don’t burn the meat at this stage, feel free to keep adding oil.
  • Once the beef is browned remove onto a plate, turn the heat down slightly and add the onions and carrots and lightly colour. Next add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf, cook for several minutes before adding the tomato puree, stir in well and cook for a further 2 minutes, this really develops the flavour of your stock.
  • Finally add the red wine and reduce by half.
  • Place the beef, rib side down, back into the pan and add approximately 1.5 pints of water and the honey,  so the meat is half covered, very gently bring this to the boil, place the lid on and carefully place into the oven, remember it will be heavy.
  • Braise for 1 hour, remove the lid and continue to braise for a further hour, remove from the oven and spoon the stock over the meat, the stock should have reduced by half and be slightly thickened.
  • Test to see if it’s ready by inserting a small sharp knife in the thickest part of the meat, it should offer very little resistance, if it needs longer place back in the oven but keep spooning the stock over the meat every 15 minutes or so.
  • Once cooked remove from the oven, place the lid back on and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes in the stock before serving.
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