We'll warn you up front that this is not a just-got-home-from-work-throwing-something-together dish. Between prep and actual cooktime it takes about 4-4 1/2 hours to make, but it's well worth the effort. The only hard thing about it is sitting around for the three hours its cooking while the aroma wafts around your kitchen. Just saying, you have been warned.
Braised Chocolate Short Ribs
1/3 cup thick sliced bacon, cut into small pieces (approx. 3 strips)
6 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1-3/4 cups onions, diced
1/4 cup shallots, diced (or jarred, chopped in water)
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup carrots, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 3 tsp jarred, minced)
2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, well drained
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp ground thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp shaved (or grated) unsweetened chocolate (approx 1 baking block)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
Cook bacon in a large pot until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towels.
Sprinkle the short ribs with salt and pepper then sear in the pot with the bacon drippings for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove ribs and set aside on a plate.
Sauté the onions, shallots, celery, carrots and garlic in pot until onions are translucent and other vegetables are softened.
Pour in the wine and bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes or until it’s reduced by about half. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so any tasty brown bits stuck on the bottom get mixed in.
Reduce heat and add in broth, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, bacon bits and short ribs to the mixture. Stir well and cover, leave to cook over low heat for about 1-1/2 hours. Remove the lid and continue simmering for another 1-1/2 hours or until ribs are tender.
Remove ribs with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and spoon off any fat floating on the top. Bring the sauce to a boil for 8 minutes or until it begins to thicken.
Reduce heat to medium and add in chocolate, cocoa powder and rosemary. Cook and stir until chocolate melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add ribs back into pot and cook until heated through and then serve.
The meat will have a pot roast-like consistency, tender and ready to fall off the bone. Trust us, you can cut it with a butter knife, and the flavor is awesome.
We served the short ribs with fresh steamed green beans and a combination of roasted potatoes and carrots. A nice thick peasant bread would be a tasty addition if you're looking for something to soak up the sauce with.
The entire dish was cooked using one pot. You want to make sure it's a deep one so that when you finally add everything in, you have plenty of space.
We seared the ribs in small batches because 6 lbs wouldn't fit in all at one time. Six pounds of short ribs is going to look like a lot, but the meat cooks down to almost half it's original size during the process so don't be intimidated by the amount.
The ribs should have some nice red meat on them, but also be layered with some nice fatty sections. For those who don't already know, fat = flavor. The fat will cook down as well as the meat and produce another rich undertone to your sauce.
You can use any red wine you'd like, but we prefer to go with a heartier red variety. A nice burgundy would be another good option.