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Braised Short Ribs

Make sure when purchasing the beef short ribs that you buy pieces that are nice and meaty. Add a few extra ribs to the pan and use the tender meat later to make a delicious ragu sauce for pasta.


4½ lbs (2.25 kg) beef short ribs, cut into  2-rib pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 cups (500 mL) coarsely chopped onions
1 cup (250 mL) coarsely chopped celery
2 tbsp (30 mL) coarsely chopped garlic
2 tbsp (30 mL) coarsely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
1 cup (250 mL) dark ale
2 cups (500 mL) beef stock
2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch
3 tbsp (45 mL) water


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). 
  2. Season ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.  Brown ribs in oil on all sides. This may need to be done in batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. 
  3. Set browned meat aside and discard all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil from pot. Add onions, celery, garlic and thyme. Sauté over medium heat until all are tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add ale, beef stock and beef short ribs to the pot. Cover and bring just to a boil. Place covered pot in preheated oven and cook for 2 hours. 
  4. When ribs are cooked pour cooking liquid through a sieve into a small saucepan, until there is 1½ cups (375 mL) of cooking liquid in the pan. Discard solids. 
  5. Stir together cornstarch and water in a small bowl until starch is dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture to cooking liquid. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve ribs with Barley & Porcini Mushroom Stew (recipe follows) and pour sauce over top.
Serves 6

Barley & Porcini Mushroom Stew

This hearty stew has earthy and woody aromas reminiscent of a good Scotch. It makes a perfect foil to the rich, unctuous short ribs.


1 cup (250 mL) water
1 pkg (15 g) dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1½ cups (375 mL) finely diced onions
½ cup (125 mL)  finely diced celery
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely diced garlic
2 tsp (10 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups (750 mL) quartered button mushrooms
2 cups (500 mL) pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 cup (250 mL) dark ale
6 cups (1.5 L) beef stock
2 to 3 cups (500 to 750 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas, thawed
½ cup (125 mL) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tbsp (25 mL) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup (50 mL) finely  chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat water to boiling. When boiled, add dried porcini mushrooms and set aside to rehydrate for 10 minutes. 
  2. Heat olive oil In a large pot set over mediumhigh heat. Add onions and celery, sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary and button mushrooms, continue cooking for 5 minutes until mushrooms have begun to soften and release their water. Stir in barley. Add dark ale and let cook for 5 minutes. Add beef stock, porcini mushrooms and their rehydrating water. 
  3. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Let simmer until all liquid has been absorbed and barley is tender. Stir frequently so that the bottom does not stick and burn. If barley is still not tender, add additional water as needed and continue cooking. 
  4. Stir in peas, Parmigiano, butter and parsley. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serves 6


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