Apple Cider Braised Short Ribs

Apple Cider Braised Short Ribs

Short ribs are one of my favorite things to make when the weather starts to cool down and you just want something rich and comforting for dinner. They're simple to prepare, the oven does all the work for you, and the payoff is so, so delicious. These have a bit of a fall twist with apple cider in the braising liquid and fresh sage and nutmeg hiding in the sweet potatoes. Give this one a try and thank me later. 

Apple Cider Braised Short Ribs with Sage Brown Butter Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

For the ribs:
1 ½ to 2 lbs boneless beef short ribs (4 pieces, about 6 to 8 oz each)
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1 TB salted butter
1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
2 ½ cups apple cider, divided
3 cups low-sodium beef stock
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

For the sweet potatoes:
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Kosher salt
2 bay leaves
4 TB salted butter
8 leaves fresh sage, chopped
¼ tsp fresh-grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. 

Season short ribs liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. In a heavy, oven-safe pot (I always use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven,) melt butter over high heat. Sear ribs on each side, about 1 minute per side, or roughly 6 minutes total. You want a nice brown crust on the outside of the ribs. Remove meat from pot and transfer to a plate. 

Perfectly-seared short ribs. This step is crucial if you want to get a good start on any braised dish!

Reduce heat to medium-high. Deglaze the pot with ½ cup cider, then add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes or until they become soft and begin to give off some liquid. Add the remaining 2 cups cider, beef stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Bring liquid to a boil, then add the short ribs and any juices back to the pot. Cover and bake 3 ½ to 4 hours, or until ribs are fork-tender. 

With about 30 minutes left until the ribs are done, add sweet potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Season the water liberally with salt and add bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil. When water begins to boil, remove the lid and continue to cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork (about 15-20 minutes.) Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the hot potato cooking water and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook slowly until the butter turns a golden brown color. This should only take a couple minutes. When butter darkens, add sage and nutmeg. Swirl the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Drain and mash the potatoes, slowly adding cooking water in batches and continuing to mash, until potatoes have reached your desired consistency. Use less water if you like thicker potatoes, and more water for smoother, creamier potatoes. Add the sage brown butter, and mash again to combine. Taste and season with salt if desired. 

To serve, divide potatoes evenly among 4 shallow bowls. Top each one with a piece of short rib and pour some of the onion-mushroom mixture from the rib pot into the bowl as well. Drizzle some of the braising liquid over the whole thing, and serve with a fork on the side. These ribs are so tender, you won’t need a knife!

Cheers! Alex

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