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Hard-Cider-Braised Short Ribs with Apple Slaw

This image courtesy of Olivia Brent

Short ribs are a secondary cut of meat, and one that requires long and slow cooking. The dedication of your time, however, pays off with succulent, fall-off-the-bone meat. These short ribs are braised in a hard apple cider, allowing an apple flavor to shine through without the overt sweetness you expect from apple juice. Typical braising vegetables are added for flavor and pulled from the braising liquid early, so they roast and crisp up in the hot oven as the short ribs finish. If you can’t find short ribs, go with a cut of chuck roast, which works equally well.

SUGGESTED VARIETIES: Apple slaw is best with crisp and tart apples, to complement the braised meat. Try Cameo, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith.

Serves4 to 6

Cooking Methodbraising

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturefruity, meaty, savory

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef short ribs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 22-ounce bottle hard apple cider, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 medium apple, cored and julienned (see Notes)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Liberally salt and pepper the short ribs and set them aside for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  3. In a large Dutch oven or ovenproof sauté pot, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and rippling, add the short ribs, making sure all of the ribs are touching the bottom of the pot. (Do not stack the ribs.) Brown for 2 minutes, then turn each rib over to brown the other side. Continue working in this fashion until all sides are browned. Remove the short ribs from the pot, reserving them on a plate.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium and adding the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook stirring often, until the vegetables begin to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with half of the hard apple cider, stirring the bottom to scrape up all the brown bits. The cider will foam up, which is okay. Return the ribs to the pot, nestling them in with the vegetables so they are on the bottom Add the remaining hard apple cider, the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme; the cider should cover the ribs fully. If not, add a cup or two of water to cover.

  5. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and put it in the oven. Bake until the meat falls off the bone and shreds easily with a fork, about 3 hours. While the ribs are braising, check them every 30 minutes or so to be sure the braising liquid doesn’t evaporate; replace with stock or water as needed. You want the ribs to be just covered in liquid at all times.

  6. After 2½ hours, remove the pot from the oven and strain out the vegetables using a slotted spoon, draining off the stock. Drain well or the vegetables will not brown. Transfer the vegetables to a roasting pan in a single layer, and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, stirring to coat. Replace the pot m the oven along with the vegetable pan; roast until the vegetables are crisp and brown, about 30 minutes.

  7. To prepare the slaw. Put the apple in a small bowl and toss with the basil, lime juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and adjust the salt as needed. Set aside until you’re ready to serve

  8. Remove the roasted vegetables and short ribs from the oven. Place the short ribs in the center of a serving platter and position the roasted vegetables around them. Set the pot on the stovetop over high heat. Boil, reducing the liquid down to a gravy, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the consistency is to your liking. Strain the gravy and pour over the ribs. Sprinkle apple slaw over the ribs and serve immediately.

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These ribs sound so delicious. I have recently been experimenting with apples, and I absolutely love the combination of using them to flavor meat and using the cider vinegar for marinating or tenderizing the meat. I think my favorite is pork, but I really want to try the beef too and see how apples taste with it as well.

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