Bryan Webb

Braised Short Ribs of Beef

Braised short ribs are a dish that every time I go to America and I see it on a menu I must order it.

Chez Panisse, one of my all time favourite restaurants in Berkley, California served it once with creamed Polenta and braised radicchio, Daniel Boulud in New York pairs the succulent short rib with a rare slice of fillet; they were both amazingly good dishes. I have never seen braised short ribs on a menu in this country, maybe the reason being that it’s not a cut that is readily available and I have for a long time did not know the cut that I needed to reproduce the dish until my great butcher in Bala told me that in British butchery it is called Jacobs Ladder. This cut comes from the brisket of beef and there are usually 12 ribs to a whole ladder, which then needs to be cut in half length ways.

Braised Short Ribs of Beef

This dish takes a while to prepare and is best prepared a day in advance so the fats float to the top and sets and you can then easily removed. Also it is a very cheap cut of meat that has such great flavour; it just needs a lot of love and care in the preparation.


- 4 short rib of beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, finely chopped
- 4 sticks of celery
- 1 bouquet garni with bay leaves, parsley stalks, thyme and rosemary
- Sunflower oil
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 500ml chicken stock
- 500ml veal stock
- Salt & Pepper
- 20 small onions
- 10 Paris mushrooms, quartered
- 4 slices of streaky bacon, cut into lardons (strips)
- 50g butter
- 25g flour

1. In a large saucepan heat some oil and gently brown the pieces of short ribs until golden, season and removed to a tray, do this in batches so that you do not crowd the pan.

2. Add the vegetables and cook until cooked and slightly coloured, add the red wine and boil for five minutes to remove the raw alcohol, add the bouquet garni and the two stocks, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer and skim off the scum and it will keep on rising so keep a watchful eye over the pot as it simmers away. Cook for about two and a half hours until the meat is tender and starts to fall away off the bone.

3. Leave to cool until the following day.

4. Remove the fats that will have become solid and gently reheat the pot, when warm carefully remove the ribs and then strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, reduce the sauce until it starts to thicken, but this can be tricky as the sauce can become too strong in flavour, if you want a slightly thick sauce and not too strong its best to add some beurre marnier (25g of butter and 25g flour mixed together), add a little at a time until you get the desired constancy.

5. Add the ribs back to the sauce to reheat them but try not to boil the sauce.

6. In a separate saucepan add 25g of butter and slowly cook the onions with the strips of bacon until lightly brown and soft add the mushrooms and cook until tender, drain away the excess butter and add the short ribs.

7. Serve two pieces each with some creamy mash or Polenta.


Creamed Polenta
A good alternative to mashed potato is Polenta available in all supermarkets and just as easy as using packet mash, as if I would!


- 1 litre of cold water
- 250g Polenta ( the best is Bramata which is an organic mixture of three maize kernels) but instant will do.
- Salt
- 50g butter
- Parmesan, it’s up to you how much you add

1. Bring the water to the boil in a large pan, add a pinch of salt and slowly pour the Polenta into the water stirring all the time until the mixture is smooth.

2. Slowly cook for about 40 minutes, less for instant, while stirring frequently with a wooden spoon be careful as sometimes it can erupt like a volcano and it hurts if it hits you.

3. After this time the Polenta will leave the side of the pan and now is the time to add the butter or mascarpone and of course loads of parmesan.