Getting the Most Out of Your Side of Beef: Chef’s Tips for Short Ribs

Short ribs

Ask Chef Phyllis:

After purchasing a half side of beef last summer, I have very little of the better cuts like steak, filet mignon, and roast left by the end of the year. I saw your recipe for French Beef Stew on Facebook (I’m Jena’s friend) and decided to try it. The beef cubes were incredibly tender and easy to prepare in the slow cooker—and the red wine was a nice touch. The packages I have left are ground meat, beef cubes, and short ribs. I have lots of uses for the hamburger meat and now the beef cubes. Any suggestions for the short ribs?
—Kathy Hendrix from Aurora, CO

I hear this so often—everyone overlooks the short ribs from a side of beef and goes for the tender steaks and festive roasts first. I hope this recipe will change that. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a New England style boiled dinner, but what I’ve chosen here is a bit more elaborate. These ribs are flavorful, eat-with-your-fingers tender, and simple to prepare when slow cooked in the oven.

You’ll find versions of this dish in several countries around the world. The French serve the classic boiled Pot-au-Feu. Koreans prepare a garlicky version known as Galbi. The Germans know it as Rinderrippchen. And in Italy you can order Bolliti Misto, wine-flavored braised ribs often served from street carts at summer festivals. Most short ribs recipes have one thing in common: slow cooking in broth with root vegetables. But this recipe, which was inspired from the Piedmont area of Italy, is enhanced with fresh lemony thyme and Marsala wine poured over the top. The wine glazes the ribs and adds a hint of sweetness to the sauce. Who says winter meals can’t be festive?

This recipe makes 6 generous portions. Serve with baby red potatoes, cabbage, and creamy horseradish sauce.

  • 6–7 lbs. beef short ribs (about 1 lb. per person)
  • Sea or kosher salt and coarse black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lard
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick rounds
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced
  • 1 rutabaga, diced
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups Marsala wine
  • 3 cups beef or veal stock
  • 1 leek, washed, green and white parts cut into ½-inch slices
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch (about 10 sprigs) fresh thyme, tied with a string, or 4 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 24 baby red potatoes
  • 1 large (1½–2 lbs.) Savoy or green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

For the Horseradish Sauce:
Mix 1 cup sour cream or thick crème fraîche, 3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish (or 3 tablespoons prepared white horseradish), and ½ teaspoon each of salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Refrigerate until serving time.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle short ribs generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil and lard in a large, heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add carrots, onions, and diced rutabaga. Cook them slightly while stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Stir in the water, Marsala wine, beef or veal stock, leeks, garlic, and thyme.
  4. Return short ribs to the pot. Cover and transfer to the oven for 2 hours. Add new potatoes and cabbage, making sure to submerge them so the short ribs are on top
  5. Return pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour longer or until the vegetables are tender and the potatoes are falling off a fork. If you used fresh thyme, remove the bunch.
  6. Serve in large wide bowls or deep plates. Each serving should include 3–4 baby potatoes and 1 cabbage wedge. Top with more vegetables, broth, and short ribs. Serve horseradish sauce on the side—along with lots of napkins.

Chef Phyllis


To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:

  • chemical- and hormone-free meat
  • wild-caught fish
  • pasture-raised, organic eggs
  • whole, unrefined grains
  • virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
  • whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
  • pure, clean, spring water
  • sea salt
  • raw and/or cultured milk and cream products

Phyllis Quinn

Phyllis Quinn is a chef, food writer, and founder of Udderly Cultured, a class that teaches how to make homemade fresh mozzarella, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other cultured products. Private lessons are available. For a reservation, call Phyllis at 970-221-5556 or email her at Rediscover nearly lost cooking methods and get one-of-a-kind recipes in her books The Slow Cook Gourmet and Udderly Cultured: The Art of Milk Fermentation.

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