Sonoma Coast or Northern Rhone Syrah

Any number of red wines make excellent partners with this dish. But the inherent black pepper, smoke, and savory meatiness of a good quality Syrah from either the Northern Rhone or Sonoma Coast, can’t be beat. The wine’s spice and acidity play against the unctuous Syrah-based sauce, while plush tannins hold their own against mouth-coating fat.

A hearty braised beef dish satisfies certain primal winter cravings, and there’s no better cut for it than short ribs. Full of flavor, they practically melt in the oven while simultaneously creating a rich, delicious sauce. The fact that the home chef can’t screw up this simple preparation – a few minutes of searing followed by a few hours in the oven to tenderize – makes them appealing for either a dinner party or laid-back movie night with a bottle of wine.

Serves 4; Total Time: 3 hours


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 whole beef short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, diced
2 whole shallots, peeled and minced
3 whole carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 cups red wine (Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon)
3 cups beef or chicken stock
2 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Mashed potatoes, grits, or polenta, for serving (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Salt and pepper meat then dredge in flour. Set aside.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Drain all but a few tablespoons of fat from pot.

3. Over medium heat, cook onion, shallots, carrots, celery, and garlic in pot, stirring frequently until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release crusted bits. Bring wine to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Add broth, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add ribs and accumulated juices back to pot. Make sure ribs are mostly submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs to braising liquid. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer pot to oven.

4. Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2½ hours. Test: the bone slides freely away from the meat. Remove pot from oven. Transfer ribs to a serving platter. Strain liquid into a saucepan. Skim off the fat and boil the sauce over high heat until reduced, about 3 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Divide ribs between bowls and spoon sauce over the top. Optional to serve over mashed potatoes, grits or polenta.