Pressure Cooker Short Ribs
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.
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.
- Pressure Cooker (I use my Fagor Duo 10 Quart pressure cooker)
- Fat separator (You need a big one, at least 4 cups in size).
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 4 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 2 to 3 inch segments, trimmed of as much fat as possible
- 2 teaspoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade chicken stock*) or water
- 1 cup red wine (Preferably a fruity blend, like a Cote du Rhone)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste (I like Amore from a tube)
|Untrimmed vs trimmed short ribs|
1. Season and sear the ribs in two batches: Trim all the fat you can from the short ribs, which usually is on the top and the bottom (along the rib). Season the ribs with the 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in your pressure cooker pot until it is shimmering. Add half the ribs, and sear for 3 minutes per side, or until well browned. (I treat the ribs as if they have four “sides”, so this should take about 12 minutes. Make sure one of the “sides” is bone side down – that will help render some of the fat.) Remove the browned ribs to a bowl. Add the second half of the ribs to the pot, and sear for 3 minutes per side. Move the second batch into to the bowl with the rest of the browned ribs. Pour off all but 1 tablespoons of the oil and fat in the cooker.
|Ready to sear|
2. Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, bay and thyme to the pot. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then saute for five minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the chicken stock and wine to the pot, increase the heat to high, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits from the bottom.
3. Pressure cook the ribs: Add the ribs and tomato paste to the pot, and stir everything until it is well mixed. Get as many ribs submerged in the liquid as you can, then lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Wait for the pressure cooker to come up to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain that pressure and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 10 to 15 minutes, then quick release any pressure left in the pot.
|Coming up to pressure|
4. 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 ten minutes for the fat to surface, then pour over the ribs and serve.
*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:
Dutch oven: 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.
Slow cooker: Put the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 10 hours. Continue with step 4.
*As I said in my I love pressure cookers post, every pressure cooker works differently. Make sure you have read your pressure cooker manual before starting this recipe, so you know how to lock it, how to tell when it’s up to high pressure (15 PSI), and how to release the pressure when you’re done.
*Instead of browning the short ribs in two batches, I use two pans. I brown half in my pressure cooker, and half in my fry pan. Then, I saute the onions in the pressure cooker, while I heat up the chicken stock and wine in the fry pan. This loosens up the browned bits in the fry pan, so I get their flavor in the final stew. Also, the pressure cooker comes up to pressure quicker if you add boiling liquid, so I’m heating up my stock at the same time I’m sauteing my onion.
|Two batches, two pans|
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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