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Saffron and Tomato-Braised Beef Short Ribs
Saffron and Tomato-Braised Beef Short Ribs Photo courtesy of Jake Gartland

Beef isn’t the mainstay in our diet that chicken or fish is, but when we have a nice Malbec waiting on the wine rack, it quickly becomes our top choice. As Argentineans know (as does anyone who has traveled south), nothing goes better with the inky red wine than a beef-driven dish. At the Argentinean-inspired modern steakhouse Lolinda in San Francisco’s Mission district, chef Alejandro Morgan braises beef short ribs until tender, and then turns the wine-spiked braising liquid into an intensely flavorful sauce. Served over roasted potatoes or creamy polenta, these sauced short ribs are Malbec’s ideal partner on the plate.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Start to Finish: 4 hours

Ingredients

3½ pounds bone-in beef short ribs, about 2 inches thick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, trimmed and roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves

1 cup red wine (such as Malbec)

5 cups low-sodium or homemade beef stock or broth, or water

4 cups crushed tomatoes

½ cup sugar

2 bay leaves

⅛ teaspoon saffron

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Cook the short ribs, working in batches, until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the short ribs to a plate and set aside.

2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine to the pot and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef stock (or water), tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves and saffron and bring the mixture to a boil.

3. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Return the short ribs to the pot, submerging them completely. Cover and cook in the oven until the short ribs are fork-tender, about 3 hours.

4. Remove the pot from the oven and skim the oily top layer from the liquid. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Transfer the short ribs to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Cook the sauce over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about a third.

5. Remove the foil from the short ribs and divide among four to six plates. Pour the sauce over the top and serve immediately with desired accompaniments.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Stop by Lolinda next time you’re in San Francisco.

  • Malbec is a great wine to use in this dish and to drink with it. Check out this article from Serious Eats to learn more about the variety and discover some affordable labels to buy.

  • Want a richer sauce? Add a few pats of unsalted butter to the pot as the sauce reduces on the stovetop.

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