I am thrilled to share this recipe with you.
Seriously, I've been thinking about it for days. Cider-braised short ribs sound like a dream, right? Spoilers: they are.
I've been wanting to share more main meal recipes lately, since there's a sad lack of that on this site right now. In case you didn't know, I love meat, but that doesn't really show yet. So I'm on a quest to post recipes for the things I regularly eat instead of just treats and things like that (not to say that I don't eat the treats...I definitely do). But that isn't a realistic view of all the nutrient dense meals I normally have.
And man, is this one worth sharing.
I'll be honest with you: for a long time, I was afraid of any recipe that used words like "braise", "brined", "curried"...basically anything that I didn't inherently know how to do. That was a huge mistake of the first 24 years of my life. Since going paleo and spending more time in my kitchen, I've learned that those words are usually just fancy ways of describing common kitchen practices.
Still, I had never braised anything in my life. Things that were cooked slowly were just thrown in a crockpot when I was growing up. I've never (and still don't have) a dutch oven (but it's high up on my wishlist).
The first time I braised something, I was blown away by the simplicity and flavor explosion. I was hooked.
Even before I had braised for the first time, I had the idea for these short ribs. Why? Because cider-braised anything sounds good. And man, are these short ribs good! Slightly sweet and caramely, fall-off-the-bone tender...
The second time I made these (had to make sure the recipe was just right, of course!), I made some quick and easy garlic mashed potatoes for a truly comforting winter meal, and my brain practically exploded in bliss.
Now, I'll be the first to note that white potatoes are a grey area food in the paleo world. Some still avoid them like the plague. They are now allowed on a Whole30, though, and as a result more people are accepting. I eat them occasionally, partially because they're a nutritious starch and partially because my boyfriend loves them. We have opposite schedules, so when I'm making a meal we can actually eat together, I spoil him. If white potatoes aren't your thing, just sub for a thick, hearty caulimash.
Okay, let's talk about braising for a moment, since it scared me before I tried it and I'm sure you might be scared, too.
The above picture illustrates the before (on the left) and after (on the right). The picture on the left was taken after browning the meat (definitely enhances the flavor...don't skip this step!). The braising liquid (in this case, cider), should be covering ¾ of the food. On the right you'll see my dish looks burned, the onions and apples underneath are carmelized, and the short rib meat is literally falling off the bone. That's the sort of result you're looking for. There's still some liquid in the bottom, and I opted to spoon this over the meat and mashed potatoes like a gravy. Delicious.
The best part is that other than browning the short ribs, I all I did was put some tinfoil on top of this and pop it in the oven. A few hours later, I had one of the most delicious meals I've ever made. Psh, and I thought braising was hard.Print
Cider-Braised Short Ribs
- 1-1.5 lb beef short ribs (4 single ribs)
- 1-2 Tb fat of choice
- 2 cups homemade apple cider OR hard cider of choice
- ¼ large red or sweet yellow onion, sliced
- 1 large apple, sliced
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 2 large russet potatoes (about 2 ½ cups roughly chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ c coconut milk
For the Short Ribs
- Preheat oven to 350. If necessary, divide short ribs so each piece has only one bone. Salt the short ribs liberally and set aside.
- In a cast iron pan/dutch oven, add your favorite fat and heat on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Once the fat is heated, sear the short ribs on each side, about 1 minute per side. If there’s lots of smoke, you’re doing it right. You might want to turn a fan on or open a window to prevent the smoke detector from going off. Add more fat if necessary. The aim is just to brown the outside of the meat without cooking through to seal in the flavor. When finished, remove from heat.
- Add the onion and apple slices to your braising dish. If using a dutch oven, simply add the onions and apples to the short ribs. If using a baking dish (I used an 8x8), add the apples and onions to the bottom and arrange short ribs on top.
- Pour apple cider into the dish/dutch oven. Cover with tinfoil or dutch oven lid and put into the oven. After 2 - 2½ hours, remove tinfoil and cook for another 30 minutes. When done, the short ribs should be fork tender and easily fall away from the bone.
For the Mashed Potatoes
- After removing the tinfoil from the ribs, start preparing the mashed potatoes.
- Fill a medium-sized pot ⅔ to the top with water and bring to a boil. Roughly chop potatoes and add to the pot. Boil for 5-10 minutes or until they slide easily off a fork when pierced. Drain water.
- In the same pot, add garlic and coconut milk. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and creamy. If you don't have an immersion blender, use a food processor!
- Serving Size: 1 cup mashed potatoes, 4oz meat