Braised Short Ribs with Black Beans

Posted by Tracey Vowell on


  • 2# Short ribs (the big blocky ones, not flanked)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Black Beans
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2-3 Hot Peppers
  • 1 Head Garlic
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 Ribs Celery
  • 2-3 Quarts stock of your choice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

If your roasting pan is good and heavy, set it on the stove, heat it up, and brown the short ribs well, on all sides, over relatively high heat. If your roasting pan is thinner, like mine, use a good heavy sauce pan or skillet. The goal here is not to cook the meat, so much as develop all the caramel flavors on the surface, and render out some fat, so keep turning, and be patient. Let it brown.

This is the basis for both the color, and developed flavor of your cooking broth.  While the ribs are sizzling, chop the onion, remove the seeds from the peppers, or not, and chop finely. Peel and chop the garlic, and grate the carrot and celery, maximizing the transfer of flavor, and contributing to a robust thickness in the broth. 

Remove the, now well browned, short ribs from the pan, and set aside into the roasting pan, if it is not in use.

Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat, and add the onion and hot pepper, cooking for a few minutes, again, developing color and flavor.  Add the chopped garlic, give it a minute or two, then add the carrot and celery. Keep things moving.

Add another spoonful of the fat, if necessary. Once the mixture is well browned, add half of the stock, mix well, and pour over the short ribs, depending on pan use.

Add the black beans, and the remaining stock, season well with salt, black pepper if desired, and set on the stove to heat over medium. Adjust the liquid in the pan so that the ribs are about 2/3 covered. When the pan is starting to simmer, cover it tightly, either with a lid, or well fitting aluminum foil, and place in the middle of the oven.  Set the timer for 2.5 hours, but it will probably be closer to 3. 

Check for additional liquid about half way through, and use the opportunity to move everything around in the pan, just a little bit, to promote even cooking.

Short ribs tend to release even more fat in the oven, so use a small ladle to skim off, or I usually cook a day ahead of serving, reserving the ribs in one container, and the vegetable liquid in another.  Returning to the container, cold, I can easily remove the fat from the surface.  I put the liquid and the ribs back together, and reheat.

Check the seasoning, and consider adding a handful of fresh herbs, or some quick pickled vegetables for brightness, maybe simmering some kale in some of that luxurious cooking broth.  Serve it in wide bowl, with some good bread, or cornbread, and lots of liquid.

If you think maybe some mushrooms would be good, go for it.  Want to use pork shoulder, or chicken instead? Yep.

In the case of chicken, cook the beans and vegetables for about half the time, then add the chicken, cut up and browned. Have leeks, a crisper full of roots, that would be fine too.  I often add beets, another under appreciated superfood, about half way through cooking.  A few pieces of roasted squash would lend a nice sweeter balance.

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