Braised Jacob’s Ladder (Short Rib of Organic Beef) with Shallots à la Crème


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Today's special: A new take on bistro food

Today's special

By Anthony Demetre

Published 2008

  • About

Short rib of beef is seldom, if ever, served in this country. I discovered it on a recent visit to the USA, in a restaurant serving its own version of modern bistro food.


  • 2 short ribs of beef (Jacobs ladders) or enough for 4–6 people
  • Flour for coating
  • A little vegetable oil
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 375 ml port
  • 375 ml full-bodied red wine
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Shallots à la Crème

  • 100 g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 18 medium-sized shallots
  • 150 ml Madeira
  • 150 ml double cream


Cut the short ribs into individual ribs and coat in flour. Heat a heavy-based casserole with a film of oil and the knob of butter in it. Add the floured ribs and lightly brown on all sides. Reserve.

Add another knob of butter, followed by the vegetables and garlic, and lightly brown them.

Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and reduce by two-thirds. Then add the port and wine, and reduce them by half. Add the ribs, bouquet garni and stock, bring to the boil and skim. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for about 2 hours, skimming from time to time.

Towards the end of this time, prepare the shallots: melt the butter in a sauté pan, add the garlic and thyme, followed by the shallots, and cook, stirring, until the shallots are golden. Add the Madeira and cook until that is reduced by half. Add the cream with 150ml water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer until the shallots are tender.

When the ribs are cooked, carefully take them out of the cooking liquid and reserve. Strain the liquid and vegetables through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Add the ribs, adjust the seasoning and bring back to the boil to serve, together with the shallots.