Monday, January 7, 2013

Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs and Parsnip Purée

The new year means eating healthy, right? Well, once you get over that silly little notion you can go ahead and make these short ribs. Because these bad boys are so rich and decadent I can't imagine putting them in the health food category. That would be like putting Baby in a corner. And nobody puts Baby in a corner. (Look at me! I came up with a pop culture reference! It doesn't happen very often, so soak it in my friends.)

Beer Braised Short Ribs

Unfortunately, these little ribs of happiness are not the brain child of yours truly. They are from my all time favorite blogger turned cookbook author Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I freaking love her. Every recipe I have ever made of hers has turned out perfect. She turned a first time pie maker into a baker extraordinaire. Or at least the one pie I made led people to believe that I'm a baker extraordinaire, and who am I to tell them otherwise? 

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

So when I got her cookbook for Christmas, first thing I did was read it cover to cover. Literally. Like it was a novel, not a book of recipes. It's that good. It's basically my favorite present. (But if Adam asks, those gold earrings I bugged him about relentlessly are my favorite present.) 

Seasoned Beef Short Ribs

I gravitated towards this short rib recipe right off the bat, because, well, it sounded delicious.

Browned Short Ribs

But let's be honest, every recipe in this cookbook sounds delicious. But the story that came along with this particular recipe hit home for me. Deb tells how when making short ribs for the first time she freaked out because the meat was falling off the bone, until her mother in law told her that meat falling off the bone is a good thing. For me, cooking is a constant learning experience. Especially since it wasn't long ago that I thought making a quesadilla fancied up with some onions and tomatoes was the height of cooking. Everyday I get in the kitchen I learn something new, and some of it is as terribly obvious as meat falling off the bone being a good thing.


 Like always, I pretty much followed Deb's recipe word for word, step by step. She takes a lot of the guess work out of cooking. But of course, when the recipe called for a dark beer, I couldn't just use any old dark beer. No siree, I had to use the good stuff, the limited release Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. Much to Adam's dismay. You used that expensive beer to COOK?! Yep, I did. Then I drank the rest.

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout

It was well worth it. The sauce on these short ribs was somewhere between divine and is this sh*t for real?! I wanted to drink it straight. But I'm told that that is generally socially unacceptable, so I didn't. Until I was in the kitchen by myself. 

Beer Braised Short Ribs

But before drinking the sauce, or eating it with your ribs if that is the route you choose to go,  I do recommend taking the time to do the extra step of separating the fat out. I let my pot cool then popped it in the freezer for a bit until the fat hardened on top and I could easily spoon it off. But if you are pressed for time a fat separator would easily do the trick. 


Serve short ribs with parsnip purée and plenty of gravy and be prepared to fall in love. For the parsnip purée I used Deb's general recipe but made it my own. I love to sub in greek yogurt for heavy cream or sour cream. I like the creamy-ness it imparts for a fraction of the calories. It also has a nice tang that pairs well with starchy foods. I also ditched the horseradish (not a fan) that she calls for in her recipe in favor of cayenne pepper. Creamy, sweet, and spicy these parsnips are a great pairing with the ribs. Adam actually thought they were mashed potatoes, so I'm counting that as a win.

Beer Braised Short Ribs with Parsnip Purée
short rib recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
parsnip purée adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6*

Beer Braised Short Ribs

3 to 5 pounds beef bone in short ribs (English Style -i.e., separated), trimmed of excess fat
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (no need to use your best)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
24 ounces dark beer (preferably a dark coffee stout or porter)
2 to 3 cups beef stock

Bring short ribs to room temperature. Season generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom.

Once the oil is hot, brown the short ribs on all sides. In batches if needed. Take your time and get a nice brown sear on each side. 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place browned ribs aside on a plate. If doing ribs in batches, add more oil as needed.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Once all ribs are browned and removed from pot turn heat down to medium high. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and fat left in the pot. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened and a little brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and sauté for 3 more minutes.

Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for another few minutes. Then add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and beer, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom. Return browned ribs to the pot. If you can, arrange them all with their meatiest sides facedown. If you have too many ribs stand them up on their sides with the bones vertical. Add enough beef stock to cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Cover the pot tightly with foil (to keep the liquid in) then with a lid. 

Bake for 3 hours or until the meat is tender and can easily be pierced with a knife and is starting to become flaky. Remove pot from oven. 

Here I variated from Deb's instructions. She recommends skimming as much fat off the top as you can and either serving the ribs as is or removing ribs from sauce and spreading them out on a baking sheet and browning them in a preheated 420 degree oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile strain the sauce and reduce in a saucepan for 15 minutes.

What I did was, I removed the ribs from the pot and set them aside. Then I let my pot cool and then placed it in the freezer for an hour or 2**. The fat hardened on top and I spooned it off. Then I strained the sauce into a large saucepan and simmered for 15 minutes. My sauce never really reduced much, but that didn't end up being a problem. I then added back the ribs and cooked for another 5 to 10 minutes to warm them back up.

Serve ribs on a bed of parsnip purée with plenty of gravy to accompany them.

Parsnip Purée
I "healthied" up my parsnip purée by replacing the heavy cream with greek yogurt and milk. The result: a heavenly creamy mix that doesn't bring the word "healthy" to mind.

2 pounds of parsnips
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons of greek yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

Peel parsnips and cut into medium sized chunks. Place parsnip chunks in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over moderately high heat, cover pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender.

Drain cooked parsnips. In a food processor combine parsnips, butter, greek yogurt, and seasonings. Pureé, adding in milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. Serve with short ribs.

*I made 3 pounds of short ribs and it made 3 big servings for us, which would easily be 4 servings if Adam and I didn't eat like bears. So 5 pounds of meat should be enough for 6 servings.

**If you don't have time to place the pot in the freezer and wait for the fat to harden, you can remove the ribs from the sauce and strain the liquid into a fat separator then pour the juice minus the fat straight into your saucepan and reduce.

Beer Braised Short Ribs with Parsnip Purée

Love, Luck, and Happiness!


  1. Nobody puts Baby in the corner! HA! These look soooo good, Michelle. I can't handle it!!

  2. Looks good! I bet Fig would like this a lot!

    - Katie

  3. I'm drooling over these pictures Michelle! This looks amazing and I'm pretty sure I'll be buying this cookbook.



    Southern (California) Belle

  4. oh my word, i am so jealous of all who own this cookbook! here's hoping one day amazon will ship to Ecuador!

  5. I love Smitten Kitchen as well! She rocks and I have been wanting her cookbook, but am holding off on spending the money. I have it on reserve at the Library so I can't wait to get my call when it comes in. I did check it out at the book store and it's gorgeous. Ok, my hubby and daughter would go "ga ga" over this dish. I have to admit I'm a bit scared when it comes to cooking red meat. I usually let my hubby handle that, but if you did it, then I gotta give it a try, right? The parsnip puree looks amazing as well. I might make this and throw it over some kale mashies! Great photographs girl! xoxo, Jackie

    1. Thanks for checking my blog out! And thanks for the compliment on the photos! I'm trying really hard to up my photography skills! xo

  6. I am definitely trying this one since I do know that it's a good thing when the meat falls off the bone and parsnips could never taste like mashed potatoes.!

  7. You forgot the horseradish in the parsnip puree!!! That's the cherry on top in this particular recipe. I love Deb... I also read the cookbook cover to cover when I got it:D

    1. I'm not a big fan of horseradish! But maybe I'll give it a try sometime in this parsnip puree.

  8. A lovely dish, Michelle. Thanks for linking up. Cheers

  9. It also has a nice tang that pairs well with starchy foods. I also ditched the horseradish (not a fan) that she calls for in her recipe in favor of cayenne pepper. Creamy, sweet, and spicy these parsnips are a great pairing with the ribs. learn more


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