Beef, Beginner, Christmas, Instant Pot, Intermediate, Most Recent, Slow Cooker

Cranberry Braised Beef Short Ribs

Cranberry braised beef short ribs are slowly simmered with juicy cranberries, aromatic vegetables and red wine until fork tender. Perfect holiday meal!

short ribs nestled in corn grits garnished with fresh cranberries and thyme in a white bowl

I adore a good short rib dish. Probably more so that a big juicy steak. If prepared properly, the meat is tender and so full of flavor. Give me a bowl full of braised short ribs and a glass of rich red wine on a cold evening and I am in heaven.

Short ribs seem largely to be a novelty to the average home cook. But they are popping up more and more on restaurant menus. Paired with some festive tart cranberries, these Cranberry Braised Short Ribs make an elegant and delicious holiday meal. Even better, they are a fuss-free, set it and forget it dish … which means you can tend to something else and still have dinner waiting in the wings.

What are short ribs?

Cow butcher diagram.

Short ribs come from the chuck section of a cow. They are shorter than traditional beef ribs we typically think of. When a cow is being butchered, the first five ribs of the animal are too short to sell as a steak cut. These are called short ribs.

The meat from short ribs are very tough. Therefore, they are best suited for recipes that utilize low heat and long cooking times. This allows the meat time to tenderize. The end result is fork tender meat that melts in your mouth.

Raw shortribs on a white background

What is braising?

Braising is method of cooking that involves first searing the outside of the food, then finishing it in a covered container at a lower heat for several hours. Braising always involves some sort of liquid in the bottom of the pan to keep the meat moist.

How to Prepare Braised Beef Short Ribs

Because cranberry braised beef short ribs require low and slow cooking, it’s suited perfectly for the Instant Pot, slow cooker or oven cooking.

Beef short ribs in the instant pot

Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat about two tablespoons of oil using the SAUTE function on the Instant Pot. Working in batches, brown the ribs on all sides. Set aside. Do not drain grease from the Instant Pot.

browning the shortribs in oil

Puree ½ an onion, two peeled carrots, two celery ribs, two cloves of peeled garlic and ½ cup of fresh cranberries in a food processor. Add the puree to the Instant Pot with the leftover grease from the short ribs and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes.

Add three (6 ounces, each) can of tomato paste and sauté for another five minutes. Then add one cup of hearty red wine and scrape up any food that’s stuck on the bottom of the insert. Continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Turn off the SAUTE function.

Nestling the browned shortribs in the tomato sauce and vegetables

Nestle the short ribs into the vegetable mixture. Add a fresh thyme bundle tied with kitchen twine and two whole bay leaves.

Select the MANUAL function and set it to high. Cook the short ribs for 45 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves before serving.

Beef short ribs in the slow cooker

Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a large pan or stockpot over medium high heat. Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides. Set aside. Do not drain grease from the pan.

Puree ½ and onion, two peeled carrots, two celery ribs, two cloves of peeled garlic and ½ cup of fresh cranberries in a food processor. Add the puree to the pan with the leftover grease from the short ribs and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes.

Add three (6 ounces, each) can of tomato paste and sauté for another five minutes.

Add one cup of hearty red wine and scrape up any food that’s stuck on the bottom of the pan. Continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Finally, transfer vegetables to the crock of a slow cooker. Add a fresh thyme bundle tied with kitchen twine and two whole bay leaves. Nestle the short ribs in the mixture. Cook on low for 4-6 hours until the meat is tender and sauce is concentrated.

Remove and discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves before serving.

Beef Short ribs in the oven

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven with a lid or stockpot over medium high heat. Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides. Set aside. Do not drain grease from the pan.

Puree ½ and onion, two peeled carrots, two celery ribs, two cloves of peeled garlic and ½ cup of fresh cranberries in a food processor. Add the puree to the pan with the leftover grease from the short ribs and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes.

Add three (6 ounces, each) can of tomato paste and sauté for another five minutes.

Add one cup of hearty red wine and scrape up any food that’s stuck on the bottom of the pan. Continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

If using a Dutch oven, nestle the short ribs into the vegetable mixture. If not using a Dutch oven, transfer vegetables to roasting pan or casserole dish with a lid. Add a fresh thyme bundle tied with kitchen twine and two whole bay leaves.

Nestle the short ribs in the mixture. Cover the pan. Roast the short ribs for three hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove and discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves before serving.

What wine pairs well with Cranberry Braised Beef Short Ribs?

A hearty red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Merlot is an excellent choice both for cooking the short ribs and to pair later. If you aren’t comfortable cooking with alcohol, you can substitute the red wine used in the recipe with beef stock.

How to store leftover beef short ribs

Cranberry beef short ribs should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours after serving. Short ribs should be eaten within four days.

The short ribs can also be frozen for up to three months. Wrap the short ribs in a layer of plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. I also like to use a vacuum sealer.

short ribs nestled in corn grits garnished with fresh cranberries and thyme in a white bowl

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short ribs nestled in corn grits garnished with fresh cranberries and thyme in a white bowl
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5 from 1 vote

Cranberry Braise Beef Short Ribs

Cranberry braised beef short ribs are slowly simmered with juicy cranberries, aromatic vegetables and red wine until fork tender. Perfect holiday meal!
Course Entrees, Main Courses
Cuisine American
Prep Time 22 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 400kcal
Author Lisa B.

Equipment

  • Instant Pot
  • Slow cooker
  • Dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in short ribs about 5 3/4 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ribs celery cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries divided
  • 3 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 1 cup hearty red wine
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme tied with kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions:

  • Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat about two tablespoons of oil using the SAUTE function on the Instant Pot. Working in batches, brown the ribs on all sides. Set aside. Do not drain grease from the Instant Pot.
  • Puree the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and ½ cup of fresh cranberries in a food processor. Add the puree to the Instant Pot along with the remaining whole cranberries. Sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and sauté for another five minutes.
  • Add the red wine and scrape up any food that’s stuck on the bottom of the insert. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Turn off the SAUTE function.
  • Nestle the short ribs into the vegetable mixture. Add a fresh thyme bundle tied with kitchen twine and two whole bay leaves.
  • Select the MANUAL function and set it to high. Cook the short ribs for 45 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves before serving.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  • Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a large pan or stockpot over medium high heat. Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides. Set aside. Do not drain grease from the pan.
  • Puree the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and ½ cup of fresh cranberries in a food processor. Add the puree to the pot along with the remaining whole cranberries. Sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and sauté for another five minutes.
  • Add the red wine and scrape up any food that’s stuck on the bottom of the insert. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the vegetables to the crock of a slow cooker. Add a fresh thyme bundle tied with kitchen twine and two whole bay leaves. Nestle the short ribs in the mixture. Cook on low for 4-6 hours until the meat is tender and sauce is concentrated.
  • Remove and discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves before serving.

Oven Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Season the short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven with a lid or stockpot over medium high heat. Working in batches, brown ribs on all sides. Set aside. Do not drain grease from the pan.
  • Puree the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and ½ cup of fresh cranberries in a food processor. Add the puree to the pot along with the remaining whole cranberries. Sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and sauté for another five minutes.
  • Add one cup of hearty red wine and scrape up any food that’s stuck on the bottom of the pan. Continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  • If using a Dutch oven, nestle the short ribs into the vegetable mixture. If not using a Dutch oven, transfer vegetables to roasting pan or casserole dish with a lid. Add a fresh thyme bundle tied with kitchen twine and two whole bay leaves.
  • Nestle the short ribs in the mixture. Cover the pan. Roast the short ribs for three hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
  • Remove and discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves before serving.

Notes

  • A hearty red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Merlot is an excellent choice both for cooking the short ribs and to pair later. If you aren’t comfortable cooking with alcohol, you can substitute the red wine used in the recipe with beef stock.
  • Cranberry beef short ribs should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator within two hours after serving. Short ribs should be eaten within four days.
  • The short ribs can also be frozen for up to three months. Wrap the short ribs in a layer of plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. I also like to use a vacuum sealer.

Nutrition

Serving: 3ounces | Calories: 400kcal | Protein: 18g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 43mg | Potassium: 190mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 11mg

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