It’s a dish I learned to make in the fancy kitchens I grew up in, but it’s so easy to replicate at home. It’s like a fancy take on beef stew: just as comforting but with a tangy twist that makes it perfect for a family Sunday dinner or for entertaining very important guests.
Technical advice: When the short ribs are cooked, I use my handy kitchen shears to cut and discard the rib bones and connective tissue before serving. Be aware of the salt content of your braising liquid: if using broth, use the salt listed here. If using broth, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to your recipe.
Start with cold water! This ensures that the potatoes cook evenly.
Possibility of exchange: Turn it into a red wine beef stew: use stew meat (1-2 inch chunks), cut vegetables into 1 inch chunks and add 2 cups 1 inch chunks of peeled Russet potato. Reduce the cooking time to 1h30.
Use sweet potatoes or even butternut squash for a sweet-salty twist on this creamy classic. Obvious swap: use heavy cream in place of milk for an extra decadent treat.
For the beef:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Heat the oil in your Dutch oven over high heat on the stove. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and sear for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. You may need to do this in batches. Reserve the browned short ribs on a plate. Leave the fat in the skillet.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, celery and carrot. Saute 3 to 4 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Add the tomato paste and continue to sauté, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 1-2 minutes, until the tomato paste begins to blacken. Add the flour and stir to coat. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring for 1 minute, until the flour has absorbed all the fat and liquid from the pan. It will look big, but don’t worry.
Add the red wine and stir well with the wooden spoon, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the flour is completely dissolved in the liquid and the wine has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3 cups beef broth and stir to combine. Add herbs and bay leaf. Return the short ribs to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Settle the meat into the vegetables and add more broth if needed to completely cover the meat. Increase the heat to high, bring the pan to a boil, put the lid on and transfer it to the oven. Cook without disturbing for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Gently remove the lid (watch out for the steam). Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set them aside on a plate. Using a ladle, skim the layer of fat from the top of the sauce. If you want to include the veggies in your meal, simply return the short ribs to the pot and turn them over to coat in the sauce and serve. If you want a more refined restaurant-style dish, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer. Remove bones and connective tissue, then return short ribs to sauce, turning to coat.
For the mashed potatoes:
Rinse the diced potatoes under cold running water until the water runs clear. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, cook over high heat uncovered for 17 minutes. Potatoes should offer no resistance when pierced with a fork.
Drain the cooked potatoes well and return them to the hot, dry pot. Cook over medium-high heat uncovered for 2 minutes, folding them constantly with a rubber spatula. They will start to break down but be careful not to start crushing them and working the starches. At this point, you’re just trying to dry them out.
Add the butter, milk and salt, and continue cooking uncovered, folding the ingredients together, for 1 minute to melt the butter. Remove from the heat, then use your potato masher or electric mixer to mash the potatoes until smooth and fluffy. If using an electric mixer, beat them on high speed for 2-3 minutes, stopping and scraping down the sides of the pot with a rubber spatula halfway through. Add more salt to your taste.
Serve each piece of short rib over a velvety puddle of mashed potatoes, topped with this decadent red wine sauce.