Thursday, March 1, 2012

Short Ribs Provencale – an excellent dish for entertaining

Short ribs make an excellent dish for entertaining because they can be made well ahead of time and finished at the last minute. For best results, you’ll want to search out the meatiest short ribs you can find.

One of the problems I find with shorts ribs (and other cuts of meat such as lamb shanks) is that frequently the results turn out a bit too fatty for my taste, even when you trim the fat.  After all, we’re all trying to eat healthier today with less fat in our diet.

To remedy not eating some of the fat that inevitably comes from cuts of meat such as short ribs, I cook the dish up to a certain point, skim the fat from the top, and then here’s the important part - I refrigerate the dish overnight to allow more of the fat to rise to the top. The next day I scrape off the additional fat and end up with a much leaner dish. I encourage you to try it with other dishes you cook that contain fatty cuts of meat because this one extra step makes such an incredible difference in the amount of fat in the dish.

Short Ribs Provencale 
Adapted from The Carefree Cook by Rick Rodgers – serves 6

6 pounds individual short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
12 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed slightly
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hearty red wine
1 ¾ cups beef stock, preferably reduced sodium and fat free
1 – 14 ½ ounce can diced plain tomatoes in juice, drained (retain juice)
1 large bay leaf
8 ounces baby-cut carrots
½ cup Mediterranean black olives, preferably Nicoise, (I used Kalamatta)
3 tablespoons or more chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Serve with mashed potatoes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Bring the short ribs to room temperature and season with the salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large (at least 6 quart) Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. In batches, taking care not to crowd, add the short ribs to the pot and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the ribs to a platter and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Add the onion, chopped carrot, and celery to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, Herbs de Provence, and flour and stir until the garlic gives off its aroma, about 1 minute, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a long wooden spoon. Add the broth, tomatoes, and bay leaf. Return the short ribs and any juices that have accumulated, to the pot. If necessary, add the remaining juice from the tomatoes plus cold water so liquid barely reaches the top of the ribs. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover tightly, transfer to the oven and bake, stirring occasionally to change the position of the ribs, until the meat is falling-off-of-the-bone tender, about 2 ½ hours. Transfer the short ribs to a deep serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, discard the fat and the bay leaf.

*Now for the most important step in this recipe if you want this dish to be as lean as possible. As soon as the dish comes to room temperature, return the short ribs to the pot, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day (or whenever you are planning to serve the dish,) remove from the refrigerator and, with a spoon, scrape off the fat that has accumulated on top of the ribs and the liquid and discard the fat. At this point, you can return the dish to the refrigerator, covered, or you can proceed with the final cooking.

Remove the short ribs and place on a deep platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil over high heat and cook until it is reduced to a sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of your pot.

While the sauce is reducing, parboil the baby carrots in boiling water for a few minutes, then brown the carrots in a tiny bit of extra-virgin olive oil until cooked through and glazed on top. Add the ribs, glazed carrots, and olives to the sauce and cook to heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped parsley, then taste and correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve over mashed potatoes.

* * *

This recipe will be linked to Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. 


  1. A beautiful dish! So mouthwatering looking.



  2. Just gorgeous Sam! I think this is the most elegant company-worthy comfort meal! Makes me want to get a fork and eat it right off of the screen!
    xo Yvonne

  3. OMG Sam, talk about comfort food! I am practically drooling onto my keyboard. And, thanks for the great hint about getting rid of the extra fat! My cardiologist thanks you!

  4. Looks great! Saving this one.

  5. The short ribs are "glistening" with deliciousness! I'm happy for the provencal-style recipe. I've done the defatting technique with beef bourguignon and it works beautifully. Of course I have to call in a longshoreman to lift the full Le Creuset pot into the refrigerator!!


  6. Oh, those fall-off-the-bone short ribs look sooo good!

  7. I am bookmarking this one...there is nothing better than an elegant recipe like this that can be made ahead. I bet it even gets better the next day. My husband would LOVE this!

  8. its the best of both worlds. An elegant way to serve short ribs indeed. Just beautiful

  9. This looks amazing and what a wonderful tip you shared. Thanks

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  10. I am seriously HUNGRY looking at this gorgeous dish! I am going to get some short ribs this weekend!

  11. This looks seriously delicious. I do that refrigerator trick with short ribs and beef bourg. It is amazing how much fat solidifies on the top.

  12. This is a beautiful meal, Sam. Your ribs look so succulent and the sauce and glazed carrots amde my mouth water.

    I find lamb is especially fatty and I often do like you do and refrigerate it overnight to scrap off trhe excess fat before reheating it. It is so much healthier to do this.

  13. That first shot is so mouth watering! I love short ribs and your tips for getting as much fat out as possible. Delicious!

  14. I LOVE short ribs. Your photos/recipe look fantastic. I totally agree on skimming the fat off of chilled pot. Short ribs are best a day or two after you initially cook them. I like them with soft polenta or gnocchi too. Might as well be really decadent!

  15. I love to braise meats. I chill my homemade soup stocks so I can remove a layer of fat. But, I hadn't thought to do it with fatty meats. Great tip, Sam! Love me some short ribs-- especially over polenta. So delicious, and I love that while dinner is braising I can clean up the kitchen so when my guests arrive I can actually spend time with them.

  16. Oh, Sam, I would so love this dish. I love short ribs but your recipe is the best.
    I wish I had gotten this when my young Italian house guest was with me. She loves to cook and this one I would love for her to cook.
    You have the most beautiful blog.

  17. Mouthwatering photo, Sam, even at this hour of the morning! :)
    I make Ina Garten's shortribs and do the same thing...refrigerate overnight.
    My mother made a barley soup and also refrigerated it over night. So I was trained early to skim the fat! Such a simple thing to do to reduce calories AND I think dishes like this taste better the second day anyway, don't you?

  18. A beautiful photo of a wonderful sounding meal. I know your guests must have been delighted with the dish. I think the extra step to remove the fat is worth it. I also think the flavors improve by making it a day ahead as well.

  19. Good tip on de-fatting and I tend to avoid short ribs due to the fat - I like to save my fat calories for bacon and cheese. Your dish looks outstanding as always.

  20. Good Afternoon Sam,
    When I arrived at your blog this afternoon, I just wanted to reach for a fork. Oh my goodness, those Short Ribs are heavenly. I can't wait to try your recipe with the great tips, we are in for a great treat! Hope you have a wonderful week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  21. Looks great, Sam! I've got short ribs in the freezer now -- this will be their destiny!

  22. wow looks so so good, your awesome at French cooking

  23. Love that defatting tip. I've only made short ribs a couple of times and have really liked the flavor. Love having another recipe to try. Thanks Sam.

  24. A great tip, Sam. And, it looks like a beautiful result even with less fat!

  25. First, what a gorgeous plate of luscious food. Short ribs are so amazing when the connective tissues break down during slow cooking, one of my favorite comfort foods! Those carrots looks so tasty too.

  26. I agree, refrigerating overnight makes all the difference!

  27. Mmmmmm....these look excellent! And thanks for your de-fatting hints :)

  28. This is my idea of comfort food at its best! Chilling the pot overnight is an excellent way to remove fat from a dish like this. You have reminded me that it's an important step. Thanks, Sam.

  29. Dear Sam, Short ribs are one of my very favorites!! This picture is just perfect. Looks absolutely delicious. Blessings my dear, Catherine xo

  30. I'm promising myself to make this . . . company or not. Mr. Rosemary says he doesn't like the bones. I say, "Too bad."

  31. Fantastic dish - great flavors - super recipe - this is one to keep!
    Mary x

  32. Sam, this looks wonderful...I would like it for Easter dinner. (I don't care for ham). I love short ribs.

  33. Mouthwatering, magnificent ! I have added your great blog to my blog list !

  34. My DH is going to LOVE you & this recipe! He is a big fan of short ribs and I haven't made him any in a long, long time. With his birthday coming up, I think I shall do YOUR recipe!
    Thanks for telling us how you make them.


  35. Oh my gosh Sam, this sounds incredible...I will have to try., XO, Mona


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