A delicious, decadent and easy dish – this recipe for Slow Cooker Balsamic Braised Short Ribs is excellent for a dinner party or romantic night in. Pair with a glass of your favorite red wine!
- 2 lbs. beef short ribs, bone-in
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 TB unsalted butter
- 4 c. unsalted or low sodium beef stock
- 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 1/4 c. water
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 1 c. sweet cherry tomatoes
- 4 c. prepared mashed potatoes
- Set a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat. Test the heat by tossing in a few drops of water. If it is ready they should “dance” around the skillet.
- Season both sides of the short ribs with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and immediately place a few at a time into the skillet, leaving about 1-2″ space in between. This will likely need to be done in multiple batches.
- Sear each side of the short ribs about 2 minutes each to get a nice crust, then transfer them to the slow cooker.
- Remove the pan from heat, add the butter and deglaze (scrape the brown bits from the bottom). Let simmer 1-2 minutes or until it produces a nutty aroma and pour it in the slow cooker, then the beef stock, balsamic vinegar, thyme and bay leaves. Cook on high for about 4 hours.
- Remove the short ribs, discard the bones and set aside (these can be placed in a 200°F oven to keep warm if needed). Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Add the brown sugar and a cornstarch slurry (the cornstarch and water mixed together until it is a thin liquid). Simmer until the sauce thickens – it should coat the spoon – then remove from heat and set aside.
- In a skillet over medium heat, place the olive oil, asparagus and tomatoes. Saute for 5-10 minutes, tossing frequently, until the asparagus darkens and wilts and the skin on the tomatoes begin to wrinkle and peel away.
- To plate: Dividing amongst 4 plates, layer the mashed potatoes, then the asparagus and tomatoes, then 2-3 short ribs. Top with a healthy pour of sauce and serve warm with a glass of red wine.
This recipe makes a lot of sauce and it doesn’t reheat well so it will all need to be used immediately or discarded. If you’re cooking for a larger crowd, just double the short ribs, mashed potatoes, asparagus and tomatoes. The sauce will still be enough.