Asian-Flavored Short Ribs

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

It’s hard to screw up short ribs. You just need to cook them slowly and gently for the meat to become softened and luscious. Once cooked, they can be served as is or pulled from the bone and turned into a great topper for rice or noodles, or used for a fantastic hash. Since short ribs contain a fair amount of fat, I like to braise them ahead and then refrigerate so that I can lift off and discard the congealed fat. This is my variation of the Chinese “red cooking” technique, which refers to slow cooking in a broth with soy sauce and sugar, among other things. It can be used with many different meats, such as pork or lamb shoulder.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds beef short ribs with bones, trimmed of excess fat and cross-cut in 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • cups chopped green onions (white and green parts)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • cups light- or medium-bodied red wine
  • 4 cups homemade beef or chicken stock or your favorite canned broth
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown or palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
  • 3 pieces dried tangerine peel or 3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with
  • 2 tablespoons cold water (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Season the ribs lightly with salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or casserole, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and brown the ribs over high heat. Remove the ribs from the pot, set them aside, and pour off any fat from the pot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onions, ginger, and carrots to the pot and sauté until they are lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine, stock, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, chili-garlic sauce, tangerine peel or orange zest, and five-spice powder. When everything is simmering, return the ribs to the pot, cover tightly, and place in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender and almost falling off the bone.

To Serve Immediately

Transfer the ribs from the pot to a serving bowl or individual plates, keeping a bone with each piece if desired, and cover with foil to keep warm.

Strain the cooking liquid into a clean pot, discarding the solids. Let the liquid sit for a few minutes while the fat rises to the top. Skim off as much of the fat as possible. Boil the liquid uncovered until it is reduced by about a third, about 5 minutes. If you like a thicker, more gravy-like sauce, lower the heat, stir in the cornstarch mixture, and simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes. Taste the sauce, season it with salt and pepper if you think it needs it, and pour it over the ribs.

To Make Ahead

Transfer just the ribs from the pot to a storage container. Strain the liquid into a separate storage container, and refrigerate both for up to 3 days. At serving time, you can easily remove the congealed fat from the surface of the chilled liquid. Then proceed with the boiling, reducing, and thickening described above. Reheat the ribs in the finished sauce, and enjoy.