Rich, meaty short ribs cooked all day long become super tender and melt in your mouth. Suitable for entertaining even the pickiest dinner guests, this is comfort food taken to a higher level. You will never cook short ribs any other way again. It’s easier than you think!
It’s all about technique my friends. If you take your time you can make something so simple knee-bucklingly sinful. I kid you not. I’ve learned a lot in my few years of blogging but the one thing that has become permanently etched in my brain is you can’t rush flavor. You have to build it….sometimes slowly, patiently, methodically….but it takes some time. The rewards are HUGE if you just sit back and let things happen in their own time. I didn’t always have this patience. It was built…over time. Like my Slow Cooker Braised Beef Short Ribs.
This is not a recipe you can dump in the slow cooker before you leave for work. You need a Sunday afternoon with a great bottle of wine to pull this together. It’s simple, anyone that has the ability to read can make these short ribs but, again, a lesson in patience comes along with this dish. Please don’t run away. Just look at these photos. I know you want it. 🙂
We have Anne Burrell to thank for the technique here. I adapted my version from one of her recipes. She’s a culinary genius with crazy hair….sometimes a little too crazy but whenever she speaks I, literally, stop in my tracks and listen. She has many tips to share….many wise things to impart. My cooking has improved because she told me to take things to the brink of burning….but don’t burn them. The flavor is deep when you get to that point. Rich, salty, mouth-watering and mind-blowing. She’s my hero.
You’re going to puree the vegetables, this is something I never did before….and take them to the brink of burning. It’s scary here…it really is because you want to stir before they burn and you’re certain there’s nothing good happening beneath that veggie mash but trust me….don’t stir, let it be. Let it be a bit more…and then stir. You’ll see what I mean. That brown crustiness is filled with goodness. It just can’t be done any other way.
Browning is essential here…brown the short ribs. I know you don’t want to do it because it takes so long but really, if you want knee-bucklingly sinful…you need to brown the meat.
I served the Slow Cooker Braised Beef Short Ribs on Herbed Spaetzle. Spaetzle is a rustic noodle, so simple to make. I used Williams-Sonoma’s recipe for this dish. You mix the batter in a bowl and then push it through the holes of a strainer into a simmering pot of salted water. One minute later….noodle heaven. You THEN crisp those puppies up in a skillet with a
little lot of butter. Like mini pierogie without the filling. If you want to skip the spaetzel you can serve the short ribs over egg noodles or creamy mashed potatoes. I love them both ways.
Slow Cooker Braised Beef Short Ribs with Herbed Spaetzle
For the short ribs
- 6 bone-in short ribs (about 3 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large vidalia onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 to 3 cups red wine, I used Cabernet
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 bunch fresh tarragon and one sprig rosemary, tied with kitchen string
- 2 bay leaves
For the spaetzle
- 1 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- For the short ribs:
- Season each short rib generously with salt and pepper. Coat a pot large skillet with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side cooking in batches if necessary. Do not overcrowd pan.
- While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until a coarse paste forms. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, transfer them to the slow cooker. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and all the liquid has evaporated, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the vegetables and continue to brown. Scrape the vegetables from the bottom of the pan again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and reduce the mixture by half.
- Pour the vegetable mixture into the slow cooker and add 2 cups stock or until the stock has just about covered the meat. Add the herb bundle and bay leaves. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time.
- While the ribs are cooking, combine the milk, eggs, flour, the 2 tsp. salt, the 1/8 tsp. pepper, the nutmeg, and 1 Tbs. each of the parsley and chives in a large bowl. Stir until smooth.
- Fill a large pot two-thirds full of lightly salted water and bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat. Set a large bowl of ice water near the stove.
- Hold a colander with large holes over the simmering water. Using a rubber spatula, push 1 cup of the batter through the holes directly into the water. Cook the noodles for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the noodles to the ice water. Repeat with the remaining batter. Drain the spaetzle in a colander with small holes so the noodles do not slide through. The spaetzle may be refrigerated, covered, for up to 4 hours.
- Just before serving, in a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the spaetzle and sauté, stirring frequently, until the noodles are golden brown and crispy, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add the remaining 2 Tbs. each parsley and chives. Transfer to a serving platter.
- When the ribs are cooked (the meat will be tender but not falling apart), carefully transfer them to a platter and pour the braising liquid to a large saucepan. Skim the fat from the surface and reduce the sauce over medium-high heat until the mixture thickens.
- Serve the ribs over the spaetzle with the reduced braising liquid.