Short Ribs Braised in Zinfandel, Tomatoes, and Basil Recipe

The weekend is a good time to slow down and savor dishes that benefit from the relaxed pace. Short ribs cut from the ends of the ribs are very tasty with a rich “beefy” flavor, but they must be slow-cooked in a savory liquid to become silky-tender and luscious. And in honor of this weekend’s Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience, a recipe that has rich layers of flavor from a splash (okay, a cup) of wine is definitely in order.

Cookbook author and food and wine consultant Denis Kelly, who contributed this recipe to Real Food, likes to cook short ribs in hearty red California Zinfandel, but any full-bodied dry red wine will do. And be sure to drink the same wine with these savory short ribs. This same braising technique can also be used for other tough beef cuts such as chuck or brisket. Cheers!

Short Ribs Braised in Zinfandel, Tomatoes, and Basil

Serves 4 to 6

Beef Rub:
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. paprika, preferably Hungarian or Spanish
1 tsp. chile powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 to 5 lb. bone-in short ribs in 1½- to 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned, with liquid
1 c. Zinfandel or other dry red wine
1 c. beef stock
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c. chopped onions
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. or more tomato paste

In a small bowl, mix together beef rub ingredients. Trim excess surface fat from ribs and sprinkle generously with rub. (Any rub left over can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 months.) Let ribs sit for an hour at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add ribs and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Pour off any accumulated fat, and add tomatoes, wine, and stock. Stir in garlic, onions, and bay leaves. Cover and bake until tender, at least two hours.

With a slotted spoon, transfer short ribs to a baking dish and keep warm in oven. Skim fat from surface of sauce with a spoon. Place pot on stove over medium-high heat, and stir in tomato paste. Cook until thick and smooth, stirring often and adding more stock, wine, or tomato paste if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return reserved short ribs to pan and serve.

Nutrition info (per serving): CALORIES 337 (201 from fat); FAT 22g (sat. 8g); CHOL 90mg; SODIUM 351mg; CARB 8g; FIBER 2g; PROTEIN 24g


Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.