Ad Hoc Braised Beef Short Ribs Recipe

A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I decided to invite some friends over for an impromptu dinner party. Of course, the main question on my mind was: what should I cook? I turned to trusty Momofuku, then realized 90 percent of the recipes included pork or some sort of pork by-product. Pork is a big no-no for our friends, who are Muslim.

My theory is that if you’ve never tasted something, then you don’t miss it. In the case of one of my friends though, he has tasted the forbidden meat – at a work function. The way he tells the story, he just had this little scallop appetizer. It was amazing, smoky, delicious! It was so amazing that he called up his girlfriend to tell her about it. “There are these scallop things here that are fantastic. They taste so good, I’ve never tasted anything like them!” he said. He popped a couple more in his mouth and turned to his co-worker to say, “Wow, aren’t these scallops good?” She looked at him and said mildly, “they’re just regular bacon-wrapped scallops.” Oops! That amazing, smoky, delicious flavour? Bacon, of course.

I can’t imagine living without bacon, but seeing as Momofuku food out of the running, I turned to my other current favourite: Ad Hoc at Home. A quick flip through and I knew I had to make the Braised Beef Short Ribs.

These ribs are amazing: you buy boneless chuck short ribs so you can cut the meat into perfect 2 inch cubes after cooking. The presentation is flawless, which is one of the things I love about Keller, his methodical precision.

To start the dish, you need a red wine reduction: the wine is cooked for 45 minutes with onions, carrots, leeks, shallots, mushrooms, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic until it reduces to a glaze. While the wine is reducing, you brown your short rib chunks then set them aside. When the reduction is done, you toss in some more onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.

This is when it gets a little more finicky: Keller tells you to create a “nest” for the meat out of cheesecloth so the meat doesn’t touch the vegetables and herbs. The vegetable and herbs are supposed to flavour the meat, but never touch it. The whole mess is covered with beef stock and put in the oven with a parchment paper lid.

The parchment paper lid lets steam out while keeping the stock from reducing too quickly. The lid is just a circle cut out of parchment paper. Keller has step-by-step instructions for making the lid, but for some reason my copy of the book is missing that page entirely. If you’re missing that page too, just fold up a square of parchment paper diagonally and then diagonally again and again. You should have a piece of paper that looks like what you’d cut a paper snowflake out of. Trim the edges so they’re round and snip the folded point so you have a tiny hole in the middle of your lid.

Pop your lid directly onto the stock (it should touch the stock) and put the pot in the oven. The pot stays in the oven to slow braise for about 2 hours. After that your meat will be super tender; when you press down on it, the fibers will separate, but not fall apart. After this, the meat is removed from it’s nest and the braising liquid is strained.

From here, you can eat the short ribs, or you can use them in some of his other recipes. I made beef stroganoff with them, but that’s a post for tomorrow!

Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Braised Beef Short Ribs

Red Wine Reduction

1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup 1/2 inch diced yellow onion
1 cup 1/2 inch thick slices peed carrots
1 cup 1/2 inch thick slices white and light green parts leeks
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
3 thyme sprigs
6 flat leaf parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 large garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on


2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck short rib
salt and pepper
canola oil
1 cup 1/2 inch diced yellow onion
2/3 cup 1/2 inch thick slices peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups 1/2 inch thick slices white and light green parts leeks
2 garlic cloves, smashed, skin left on
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
about 5 cups beef stock

1. Combine all the ingredients for the red wine reduction in a large heavy ovenproof pot that will hold the meat comfortably. Bring to a simmer over high heat and reduce the heat to maintain the simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, until the wine has reduced to a glaze.
2. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper, coat in flour, patting off any excess. Heat canola oil in a large saute pan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the meat, fat side down, reduce the heat and brown the mean for 3 minutes. Turn the meat and brown the other side. Transfer meat to a tray.
3. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
4. Add the onion, leeks, garlic, thyme and bay leaves to the wine reduction and toss. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 4 inches larger than the diameter of the pot. Place it over the vegetables and put the meat on the cheesecloth and fold over the edges to form a “nest.” Add the stock, it should come to just the top of the meat.
5. Cut a parchment paper lid and place it over the meat.
6. Put the pot in the oven and reduce the heat to 325˚F. Braise the beef for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until tender.
7. Transfer the meat to a heatproof container. Strain the braising liquid and pour over the meat. You can keep the meat in the refrigerated in the liquid for up to three days.

23 Comments add yours

  1. Keller can be fussy. Why aren’t the short ribs supposed to touch the vegetables? What would that do?

    Although it can be more work, I like to cook short ribs on the bone and then cut the meat off when it has cooled and firmed up. I like the collagen from the bones and connective tissue.

    I can’t imagine living without bacon. That would really be a test of my faith.

    He says he doesn’t want bits of vegetables and herbs to cling to the meat. I’m pretty sure the “nest” is a step that you can skip.

    I like short ribs on the bone too, I made them for the first time the other day in a Korean inspired dish and the connective bits were delicious. Seriously though, this beef was melt in your mouth tender, which you don’t really get with the connective tissues.

    No one should live without bacon. I’m glad my friend got to try it once, even if it was unknowingly.

    steph on March 31st, 2010 at 10:55 am

    the nest is just for quick removal of the short ribs… since fishing them out with a bunch of vegetables could be messy and time consuming, why not just take one extra step to make it easier? It’s like putting a trash bag in your trash can, you don’t need it… but it saves you from cleaning up any potential messes. otherwise, the nest is totally negligible. think bouquet garni

    Makes sense!

    steph on April 6th, 2010 at 10:16 am
    chris on April 5th, 2010 at 12:16 am
  2. Wow the short ribs sound amazing, and I can’t imagine living without bacon either.

    Thanks, and yes, is a baconless life really worth living?

    steph on April 2nd, 2010 at 11:23 am
  3. I liked how there are pictures in the cookbook showing how to cut out the parchment paper :) The recipe does seem like a lot of effort, but worth it, I suppose; the meat you bought looks luscious.

    Heehee, my copy of the book is misprinted, it didn’t have the step-by-step photos!
    It was totally worth it, the meat was so good! I hope you get a chance to try it.

    steph on April 2nd, 2010 at 11:24 am
  4. I’m making this dish on Saturday for a big group–about 10 to 12 people. Any suggestions as to making this work? Thanks!!

    Definitely braise the beef the day before your dinner party! Also, bring giant pots of water to a boil and keep them at a low simmer before your guests arrive. That way, when you need to boil the water for the pasta, you won’t be waiting for a super long time.

    steph on April 15th, 2010 at 11:43 am
  5. u guys just don’t understand. life really IS much better without bacon. pigs eat their own vomit.

    How is that so different from cattle, which belch up the grass they already swallowed, just for the fun of chewing it again. Not to mention humans, who take curdled milk, dry it out a little, leave it in caves to get moldy, then eat it…

    Scott on May 4th, 2011 at 10:50 am
  6. When using the parchment paper lid – do you also put on the pan lid before putting in the oven? I have the Ad Hoc book and it does not say to but the pan lid but i was wondering what you did. I am going to cook the braised pork belly tomorrow. Thanks.

    You just need the parchment paper lid.

    steph on December 20th, 2010 at 6:37 pm
  7. After the red wine reduction is made and the glaze is created, are you supposed to strain out those vegetables before adding the new ones? I couldn’t imagine adding fresh firm vegetables to mushy cooked ones, but that is not a step mentioned in the recipe.

  8. do you discard the vegetables before serving or do you serve them with the meat?

  9. I have the same question as Natasha, do you strain the veggies from the reduction and add new fresh veggies on top?

    Also, when you “nest” the meat, do you put the meat in the cheesecloth and kind of push it down so there is liquid and veggies all around it?

    Thanks, I am making this tomorrow (Saturday) in preparation for Sunday’s super bowl (We are having a High Brow Bowl, for 4, with only fun, foodie dishes). It just so happens that it is also my birthday.

  10. Natasha – adding fresh veggies to cooked ones – no biggie, they are still going to cook for 2 more hrs

    Morgan – if you don’t push it down, then you’ll have to add a ton more stock so the meat is almost covered, so might as well push it down

    I serve all the veggies with the final dish – not sure why he strains them – except you’d want to get the stems of thyme out, and the bay leaves and the skin on the garlic. put stuff in there you’re not afraid to see on a plate and you’re fine.

    Another option is to turn the veggies into a sofrito – blend them all up into a puree after the reduction step and then braise in that – I never added more veggies at that point. It just gives you a smoother gravy to cover the meat with at the end instead of chunky veggies.

    also search for “anne burrell beef ribs”
    i can’t find the video online, but u can read her recipe.

    good luck

  11. I’m sure the short ribs from my butcher are inferior to TKs but I had to braise these for 3.5 hrs to get them tender.

  12. I seriously love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself? Please reply back as
    I’m looking to create my very own blog and would love to learn where you got this from or what the theme is named. Kudos!

  13. I like the idea of the parchment paper, I will try that out.

    I disagree with the meat placed in cheese cloth. I think the better option is to place the herbs in a next with cheese cloth and a string attached, much easier to fish out and no herbs on the beef.

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