Tom Colicchio's Braised Short Ribs Recipe With A Twist

There's something succulent and crave-able about a well-braised short rib — especially when you're following the guidance of a James Beard award winning chef like Tom Colicchio. Colicchio's beef ribs are braised in chicken stock and red wine and enhanced with a medley of vegetables and aromatics that make the final sauce so rich and sweet. It's a tender, fall-apart dinner that is perfect to serve as a comforting meal, but it's also gourmet enough to serve to a party of guests.

Recipe developer and food blogger Mikayla Marin from The Flour Handprint has been a longtime fan of chef Tom Colicchio ever since she began watching "Top Chef" over a decade ago. Marin was thrilled at the chance to "twist" Colicchio's original recipe. Marin's inspiration came from one of Colicchio's cookbooks, namely his advice to always try to cook with the seasons. She gave these braised short ribs a fall twist by using seasonal veggies to enhance the braising liquid and bulk up the final dish, so you'll have braised meat and tender vegetables to serve up to your hungry family or guests.

What did we change?

Marin knew she wanted to retain the essence of the recipe, as it's really delicious as-is! But she also knows that cooking with seasonal foods is a great way to give a dish great flavor naturally. In order to do that, she made one key swap and one addition, using two autumnal ingredients that are popular and widely available this time of year: butternut squash and turnips.

The butternut squash plays a double role. Not only does the top half get chopped into large chunks, but the thin area where the seeds are removed get a fine dice and replace the carrots in the braising marinade. A large, mature turnip gets peeled and chopped into large chunks, too. Then, with a quick additional step after searing the ribs, the fall vegetables get caramelized and set aside. The next day, they're added back in with the ribs in the final step of cooking, resulting in tender, succulent vegetables that are glazed in the savory red wine sauce right along with the beef.

Gather the ingredients for Tom Colicchio's braised short ribs with a twist

Making restaurant-quality recipes like this one doesn't mean you need a lot of ingredients. In fact, the 10 ingredients this recipe calls for are commonly available in most grocery stores.

For the beef, Marin notes that Colicchio calls for a flanken style short rib. That means that the ribs are cut across the bone, rather than along with them. It may sound intimidating and hard to find, but Marin was able to simply ask the butcher at her local grocery store, and they cut and packaged them for her in just a few minutes.

Once you have the short ribs, all you need is a splash of oil, salt and pepper, one onion, three celery ribs, one medium butternut squash, one large turnip, four sprigs of fresh thyme, three cloves of garlic, a 750-milliliter bottle of red wine, and 3 cups of chicken stock. If, for some reason, you have trouble finding any of the ingredients, Marin has a few suggestions for substitutions. Any winter squash can be swapped for the butternut squash, such as acorn, honey nut, or sugar pumpkin. Instead of turnip, you could opt for rutabaga. In addition, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme can replace the fresh herb, and vegetable stock or beef stock can be used in place of chicken. (Marin notes she used a yellow onion, but Colicchio didn't specify, so use what you like!)

Get your mise en place in order

Mise en place is just a French term for "put in place," and it means getting all your ingredients prepped and ready to cook. It takes a few extra minutes to do, but saves a lot of stress while cooking and makes following a recipe such as this one a total breeze.

Marin started by finely dicing the onion and celery, then slicing the garlic cloves into thick slices. After that, she peeled and chopped the turnip into a large dice. (If you're using small, young turnips, peeling is not necessary.) Then, she peeled the butternut squash with a sharp potato peeler. Next, she sliced it in half lengthwise, and then each side in half again, separating the seeded portion from the solid top half.

Scoop out the seeds, and chop those pieces into a fine dice, adding it to the onions and celery. The remaining squash gets a large dice like the turnips. Marin notes it's important to try and keep them the same size for even cooking.

Season and sear the short ribs and vegetables

Place a large Dutch oven on medium heat on your stove, and get a heat safe casserole dish and a bowl that has a lid ready nearby. Season all of the short ribs with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the hot pan, and place the short ribs fat side down to sear. Sear for eight to nine minutes, or until they are caramelized and golden brown, and then flip and repeat on the second side. When both sides are seared well, move them to the casserole dish.

Next, add either the turnips or butternut squash to the hot fat in the pan. It doesn't matter which order, or if they're mixed in the pan, but it is important not to crowd them in. Marin notes she did it in two batches — that way, she gave the vegetables plenty of room to sear and brown, rather than steam from being overcrowded. When they're golden brown, transfer them to the bowl to cool.

Build the marinade with the remaining veggies, herbs, and wine

Next into the pan is all of the celery, finely diced squash, onion, and garlic. Stir occasionally, but let them soften and lightly caramelize. (This took Marin about 15 minutes.) Then, you'll add the entire bottle of red wine to the pan with the thyme sprigs. Stir once, and let the mixture come up to a boil.

Once boiling, it's time to turn off the heat, and combine it with the ribs. Carefully pour the hot marinade over the ribs in the casserole dish. Let it cool for 30 minutes to an hour, then cover and refrigerate it overnight. Refrigerate the seared vegetables as well.

The next day, build the braising liquid, and get it in the oven

A few hours before you're ready to serve dinner, pull the marinating beef from the fridge, and transfer the marinade and ribs back into a large Dutch oven that has a lid. Preheat your oven to 350 F, and place the Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add the chicken stock to the ribs, and bring the entire pot up to a boil. Once boiling, cover and place on the bottom rack of your oven to braise for 1 hour and 15 minutes. After that, remove the lid, and let it continue to braise for another 45 minutes, or until the braising liquid is reduced by half.

Pull your seared butternut squash and turnips from the oven at this point to let them come to room temperature. This is also a great time to work on a starchy side like polenta, a rice pilaf, or bread to soak up the sauce.

Remove from the oven, and strain the sauce

First, remove the ribs to a clean casserole dish (not the one you had raw beef in). Marin recommends a 9x13-inch baking dish. Then, carefully pour the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Press gently on the vegetables in the sieve to get all the juice out into the bowl. Discard those veggies.

Then, using a small ladle or spoon, remove as much fat as you can from the surface of the liquid. Marin notes she found it much simpler to use a fat separator that has a filter built right in. The fat stays in and the liquid pours out, making it very easy!

Turn your oven to broil on the highest setting, and start adding the squash and turnip chunks to the casserole dish around the ribs. Pour the remaining liquid back over the ribs and vegetables. Taste the liquid at this point, and add a pinch or two of salt, if needed.

Glaze and serve your braised short ribs with a fall twist

Let the ribs and vegetables cook in the liquid under the broiler for at least 10 minutes. Marin notes she much preferred the result after 15 to 20 minutes. She turned the ribs over in the liquid twice during that period, making sure all sides got a lovely glaze of sauce.

Then, serve your ribs and vegetables over a creamy polenta, a savory rice, or with a large hunk of crusty bread to soak up that luxurious sauce. If you happen to have leftovers, Marin notes that the ribs were not only good the next day, but the sauce only gets better the longer it all sits together. Eat leftovers within three days, and enjoy every single bite!

Tom Colicchio's Braised Short Ribs Recipe With A Twist
4.9 from 12 ratings
We gave Tom Colicchio's braised short ribs a fall twist by using seasonal veggies to enhance the braising liquid and bulk up the final dish.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
3.25
hours
Servings
6
Servings
short ribs and polenta
Total time: 3.42 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 1 large turnip, large dice
  • 1 medium butternut squash (top half large dice, remaining squash finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 flanken style beef short ribs
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 750 milliliters red wine
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 3 cups chicken stock
Directions
  1. Finely dice the onion and celery.
  2. Thickly slice the garlic.
  3. Peel and chop the turnip and the top half of the butternut squash into a large dice, and the remaining squash into a fine dice.
  4. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Season all sides of the ribs with salt and pepper.
  5. Sear ribs on 2 sides until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Remove to a large casserole dish.
  6. Sear the large diced turnip and the squash in two batches until golden brown. Remove to a separate bowl.
  7. Add the finely diced vegetables and garlic to the pan, and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to brown and the vegetables are soft.
  8. Add in the red wine and thyme, and bring to a boil.
  9. Pour over the ribs, and let cool, then refrigerate overnight. Cover the vegetables, and place in the fridge until the next day as well.
  10. When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  11. Transfer the ribs and all of the marinade to a large, oven-safe Dutch oven. Add in the chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
  12. Cover, and put in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  13. Remove the lid, and braise another 45 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by half.
  14. Take the seared squash and turnips out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.
  15. Remove the ribs to a clean casserole dish.
  16. Strain the vegetables and herbs from sauce, and remove as much fat from the top as possible.
  17. Add the seared butternut squash and turnip to the casserole dish with the ribs.
  18. Pour the sauce over the top, and place under the broiler for 10 to 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until glazed.
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