Your Valentine’s Day dinner should be easy and indulgent. This one-pot recipe is both. Port wine and hint of cardamom and cinnamon makes this simple braise feel luxurious. It will take about 3 hours to cook, but you can (and should) do it a day or two in advance. The dish gets even better as it sits in the fridge, so you can spend the day of love with your date instead of slaving away in the kitchen. When you’re ready, just warm up the ribs and serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or grits.
• 2 large short ribs, about 1½ pounds
• Salt and pepper
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 shallot, cut in half
• 1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
• 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 ½ teaspoons flour
• ½ cup red wine
• ¼ cup port wine
• ½ cup beef or chicken stock
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 sprig of thyme
• A small pinch of cinnamon (less than 1/8 of a teaspoon, optional)
• 1 cardamom pod (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper.
Place a small saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat. It should be just big enough to hold the short ribs in a single layer without too much extra space. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the ribs and brown well on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Pour off most of the oil. Add the shallot, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, for another minute.
Add the red wine and the port. As they come to a simmer, scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Add the stock, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt.
Add the bay leaf, thyme and the cinnamon and cardamom if using.
Bring to a simmer, then return the ribs to the pot. Cover and place in the oven.
Cook until the meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven. Transfer the short ribs to a plate or bowl. Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve. Return the short ribs and strained liquid to the pot.
Allow everything to cool for a bit, covered, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
To serve, spoon off any solidified fat that has risen to the top of the braising liquid. Bring the covered pot to a simmer on low and cook just until both the meat and liquid are hot.
Move each short rib to plate. Taste the liquid to check for seasoning and consistency. Salt if necessary. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of stock. If it is too thin, reduce. Pour the desired amount onto each rib.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 214.