Braised Short Ribs with Chocolate and Rosemary

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I made this Epicurious.com recipe for New Years’ Eve and despite messing it up by getting it burnt, I thought it was very good. Indeed, I tasted the sauce before I burn it – and before I’d added the chocolate & rosemary – and it was delicious even without those additions. I ended up burning it, however, as the ribs were not tender enough after 3 hours and I felt I needed to continue cooking them. Alas, I didn’t pay enough attention to the pot and the sauce eventually burnt.

I tried to do several things to “fix it”, but what worked the best was adding more wine and another can of diced tomatoes (including the liquid).

There is some controversy on the reviews as to whether the chocolate made this sauce too sweet. I didn’t feel that at all – I felt the chocolate helped balance it and deepened it. My guess is that whether the chocolate works or not depends very much of what chocolate you use. “Bittersweet chocolate” can mean many things. I used a Ghirardelli 72% chocolate bar. It’s probably a good idea not to go below 70% cacao and use a good quality chocolate. You don’t need much, so you can eat the rest of the bar.

Finally, I used beef broth instead of chicken broth because my sister couldn’t find any of the latter at the supermarket and I didn’t add the parsley because I didn’t want my sister to have to buy it and then use such a small amount. In the past, I’ve used celery leaves instead of parsley pretty successfully – but this time she had bought celery hearts.

As with any braised short rib recipe, these ribs are best if made at least one day in advance and reheated before serving.

Braised Short Ribs with Chocolate and Rosemary

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs bone-in short ribs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup diced pancetta
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken or beef broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (~70% cacao)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

Directions

Cut excess fat from short ribs (you still want to keep some). Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until crisp, transfer onto paper towels.

Turn heat under the pot to medium-high. Add the short ribs to the pot (you will have to do this in batches) and brown on all six sides (remember the ends!). Remove short ribs.

Turn heat down back to medium and add the chopped onions, shallots, celery, carrots and garlic. Cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and add wine. Boil uncovered until the wine is reduced by half, scrapping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.

Add the broth, diced tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, reserved pancetta and parsley, if using. Return ribs to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and continuing cooking until tender, 1 1/2 to 3 hours.

Remove the short ribs. Raise heat to high and boil sauce until it starts to thicken, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and add the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and rosemary. Stir until the chocolate melts. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Return ribs to the pot and simmer until they are rewarmed, about 5 minutes.

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