Short ribs, braised until they are melt-in-your mouth pieces of beefy goodness, are one of my favorite meals. But they are a little finicky for a home cook. *I had Michael Symon’s short ribs at Lola’s, years ago. It is one of the best meals I’ve ever had at a restaurant, and I’ve been working on my short ribs at home ever since.
Part of why they are so delicious is they are loaded with fat. When cooking short ribs, there has to be a plan to get rid of the fat, or the ribs and the sauce will be much too greasy. Once again, the pressure cooker comes to the rescue.
Trimming the fat
Why pressure cook short ribs? First, they’re done with 25 minutes under pressure, instead of the 3 to 4 hours of simmering they would need. Pressure cooking seems to break down the collagen in the meat better as well – I like how tender the ribs are after pressure cooking. *Thanks to the pressure cooker, all the collagen from the bones winds up in the sauce as well. The sauce, once it is defatted, is rich, luxurious, and full of beef flavor.
Finally, there is the fat issue. The best way to get rid of all the extra fat is to cook the short ribs, then refrigerate them overnight in their sauce. The fat will come to the surface and congeal into an easily removed fat cap. This is where the shortened cooking time from the pressure cooker really comes in handy. I can make my short ribs in about an hour, end to end, the night before I want to serve them. I make them while I clean up tonight’s dinner, and they are ready to go for dinner tomorrow.
*Don’t have a pressure cooker? No problem. See the Variations section for non-pressure cooking options.
4 pounds beef short ribs, each rib about 2 1/2 inches thick
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 cup red wine (Preferably a fruity blend, like a Cote du Rhone)
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 cups water (or chicken broth)
Season and sear the ribs in two batches: Trim the fat on the top of the short ribs. Season the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in your pressure cooker pot (sauté mode in my electric pressure cooker). Brown the ribs in batches without crowding the pot. (4 pounds of ribs is three batches in my electric pressure cooker). Sear each batch of ribs on three sides - skip the bone side - until well browned, about 3 minutes a side or 9 minutes for each batch. Remove the browned ribs to a bowl. Once all the ribs are browned, pour out the extra fat, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the bottom of the pot.
Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, and tomato paste to the pot, and then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the browned bits of meat into the onions. Add the wine to the pot, bring the wine to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute. Scrape the bottom of the pot one last time, to make sure nothing is sticking. Add thyme sprigs, the ribs and any juices in the bowl, and the water to the pot.
Pressure cook the ribs: lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker to high pressure and pressure cook at high pressure for 45 minutes in an electric PC, or 35 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure to come down naturally, about 15 minutes more.
Prepare the sauce: Remove the ribs to a serving platter with a slotted spoon. Pour the sauce into a fat separator, let it rest for a few minutes to let the fat rise to the surface. Pour a little of the the defatted sauce over the ribs and serve, passing the rest of the sauce at the table.
Cuisine: American |Recipe Type: Pressure Cooker
If you have the time, refrigerate the ribs overnight to help remove the fat. After cooking, let the ribs cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight, or up to 3 days. This will let the fat rise to the surface and solidify. To serve, lift the solid fat from the ribs, then reheat the ribs over medium heat on the stove.
Don’t have a pressure cooker? Replace step 3 with: Put the ingredients in a dutch oven and bring to a boil. Cover the dutch oven, and move to a 325°F oven. Cook in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, until the ribs are tender. Remove from the oven, and continue with step 4.
If you want to speed up the browning, use two pans. I brown one batch in the pressure cooker while I brown another batch in a fry pan. Then, I saute the onions in the pressure cooker, while I heat up the water (or chicken broth) in the fry pan. This loosens up the browned bits in the fry pan, so I get their flavor in the final stew.
Thin ribs: My grocery store usually sells ribs that are 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick…but sometimes they are thinner, more like 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. When this happens, I cut the time under pressure down to 30 minutes electric PC/25 minutes stovetop PC.
Thin ribs – these should only go for 30 minutes
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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