Valentine’s Day is almost here and this year it’s a Tuesday. Yeah, not the most romantic of days but hey, at least it’s a step up from Monday. So how does one make a Tuesday feel special? Simple, short ribs. Tender Molasses Braised Short Ribs to be exact. With the help of a solid bottle of wine, and of course, excellent company you’ll be serving up midweek romance and a satisfying meal. This recipe features melt-in-your-mouth short ribs braised in a heady concoction of molasses, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar served over a bed of creamy brined white beans. So much better than the usual candy and flowers, right?! So let’s make it!
Every year I feel like I write the same thing about Valentine’s Day. I mention I’m not particularly into it. I sort of despise what it represents. And more than anything I dislike that people use this day as a litmus test for their relationship. One’s actions on a single day are not a barometer for the overall health of one’s coupledom. But I suppose I’m softening in my old age. I now think if you don’t put too much emotional weight on the day, Valentine’s Day can be a fun excuse to get squishy with your honey or show yourself a little extra love. And my favorite way to take care of my love and myself is to cook a fancy but low-key dinner at home.
Today’s Molasses Braised Short Ribs are a labor of love, I suppose. They aren’t particularly difficult to put together but they do take time. Thankfully most of it is inactive but you’ll still need to kick around. Usually, when I’m braising something delicious, I use the wait time as an opportunity to tidy up around the house, music blasting of course. This meal does not require hand-holding but it does need a little supervision.
Start by soaking your beans. And yes, I do recommend using dried beans. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t mind anyone swapping them out for the canned variety. But today we’re not just soaking our beans, we’re brining them. Basically, we’re soaking our beans in a saltwater solution that will thoroughly season them inside and out. Now, with brining you will want to keep track of time. If you brine beans for more than 8 hours they start to get too salty.
Once the beans have soaked for the appropriate amount of time, drain them and set them aside. We will start cooking them when the short ribs are in their last hour of cooking. Oh! And if you want to brine your beans well in advance, just make sure you drain and rinse them prior to storing them in the fridge. Brined uncooked beans will keep for 3 days in the fridge. Now, let’s talk about those short ribs.
Start by seasoning your short ribs all over. Set them aside. In a bowl whisk to combine your braising ingredients – molasses, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar. Set the resulting mixture aside as well. Place a heavy bottom pot over high heat and add some oil. Brown the short ribs on all sides until golden. Transfer them to a plate and add a diced yellow onion to the pot. Sauté until translucent and add a little garlic.
Once the garlic is fragrant, return the ribs to the pot and pour the molasses mixture on top. Add a little beef stock to increase the braising liquid’s volume and add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cover the pot and transfer it to a 375° F oven. Cook the short ribs for 3 hours turning once.
When the short ribs enter the final hour of their cook time, start cooking the beans. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with 2-3 inches of cold water. Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, one Parmigiano Reggiano rind, 2 bay leaves, and 2 sprigs of rosemary. I always have a stash of Parmigiano Reggiano rinds in my freezer but if you don’t have one on hand, try adding some dried shiitakes. The rind gives the beans a hit of umami, an effect you can mimic with umami-rich shiitakes. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce them to a spirited simmer. Cook for one hour or until the beans are very tender.
Once the beans are where you want them, transfer half of them to a blender. This is a good time to fish out the bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves. You can discard the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, they’ve done their job, but I like to add the garlic cloves to the blender as well. Drain the remaining beans of any excess cooking liquid and reserve it. Stream the reserved cooking liquid into the blender while you purée the beans. Add the purée to the intact beans and toss to coat.
By now the short ribs should be done. You know they’re good to go when they pretty much fall apart when you touch them. Spoon the beans into bowls and top each serving with a short rib. You probably will only need one rib per person. They are quite rich. But because I’m taking the time to braise them, I like to make extra. Leftover short ribs can be shredded and added to fried rice or a nice hash for brunch. It’s worth getting two meals for the braise of one.
And that’s everything you need to know about these Molasses Braised Short Ribs with Creamy White Beans. This meal is elegant but low-effort, so you can focus on romancing your better half and still enjoy a showstopping meal.
Molasses Braised Short Ribs with Creamy White Beans
- 1 large heavy bottom pot
- 1 Large pot
- 454g (1lb) dried white beans
- 4 cups cold water
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 cloves garlic divided
- 4 beef short ribs
- ½ cup molasses
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1⅓ cup beef stock
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary divided
- 1 Parmigiano Reggiano rind
- 2 bay leaves
- radish microgreens for serving
- Pour the beans into a large bowl. Add the water and salt and swish everything together. Set the beans aside to soak for 8 hours. ** When the 8 hours are up, drain and rinse the beans and set them aside. Preheat the oven to 375 F.454g (1lb) dried white beans, 4 cups cold water, 3 tsp salt
- Thinly slice 2 of the garlic cloves and smash two. Set the smashed cloves aside. Season the short ribs all over with salt and set them aside as well.4 cloves garlic, 4 beef short ribs
- Pour the molasses and red wine vinegar into a bowl and add the Dijon mustard. Whisk to combine and set the mixture aside.½ cup molasses, ⅓ cup red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Pour the oil into a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, sear the short ribs on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate and set them aside.2 tbsp olive oil
- Place the onion in the pot and add a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions are just translucent. Add the sliced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute more.1 yellow onion
- Return the ribs to the pot and pour in the molasses mixture and the beef stock. Add 2 of the sprigs of rosemary and cover the pot. Transfer the ribs to the oven and cook for 3 hours turning the ribs once halfway through.1⅓ cup beef stock, 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- When the ribs have about an hour left on their cook time, prep the beans. Pour the drained beans into a large pot. Cover the beans with 2-3 inches of cold water and add the smashed garlic cloves, the Parm rind, the bay leaves, and the remaining sprigs of rosemary.1 Parmigiano Reggiano rind, 2 bay leaves
- Place the pot over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook for one hour or until the beans are very tender. Taste and season with salt.
- Drain the beans reserving the excess cooking liquid. Remove and discard the rind, bay leaves, and rosemary sprigs. Place the garlic cloves in a blender and add half of the beans. Blitz the beans while streaming in the excess cooking liquid until a very smooth purée forms. Pour the purée over the intact beans and toss to coat.
- Spoon the beans into a bowl and top each serving with a short rib. Garnish the ribs with a spoonful of the braising liquid and radish microgreens. Serve immediately.radish microgreens