Coffee Braised Short Ribs

Usually, if I'm making ribs, they are either on the grill or in my Instant Pot. Who has time to braise ribs in the oven nowadays? Wait a minute, we all should find the time at least once during cooler weather to do exactly that. Not only do you get flavor and texture that aren't possible with the aforementioned cooking methods, you also guarantee yourself an afternoon of needing to be around, but not really needing to do anything to help the meal along. Who hasn't wanted a quiet afternoon with a favorite book, movie, or just a nap? This is a perfect recipe for you … and me!

I love using dried mushrooms in this recipe for two reasons: 1) the long oven braise allows them to fully reconstitute in all that amazing sauce, and 2) the hot water used to soften them to begin with finds its way into the sauce, thus helping to give it even more complexity. You can use regular tomato paste if you are unable to find sun dried tomato paste, but look for it near the tomato sauces in your market - it's usually sold in a tube. Harissa brings a deep Moroccan heat to the mix, but if you are not a fan of hot peppers, you can omit it. Coffee is one of the main flavoring ingredients in the braising sauce, so choose something you really love. I use a medium roast that I brew with a french press.

This meal is perfect served over creamy mashed potatoes or tender egg noodles. If you want a salad, you can have that on the side, but I honestly focus on this glorious braised masterpiece and just reach for a scoop of taters and some of my Korean Candied Peppers as a garnish that brings both a pop of color and a lot of flavor to a dish that's already brimming with it. Then I pour a glass of my favorite red wine and remind myself that these on and off chilly spring days are just perfect for meals like this.

Coffee Braised Short Ribs

  • 3-4 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sun dried tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste, optional
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups strong black coffee, cooled
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the ribs on a platter; sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the ribs. Set aside.

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover the fully with hot water; allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes. Drain, reserving the water.

In a heavy, ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Once the ribs are browned, remove them from pan and keep warm.

Using the same pan, add the chopped onions and carrots. Cook over medium heat scraping up any brown bits from the pan until soft and lightly browned. Stir in the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds, stirring well to prevent scorching. Add the sun dried tomato paste, harissa (if using), and Worcestershire sauce, stirring constantly until well combined and a deep color, 1-2 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the strong black coffee while stirring. Stir until reduced, being certain to scrape up any bits from the pan.

Add the remaining coffee, beef broth, mushrooms and reserved mushroom water to the pot; stir.

Add short ribs and any juices that have accumulated. Cover the pot with lid and place in a preheated 300°F oven for 3 hours, turning meat halfway through the braising cycle. After 3 hours, check to see if the ribs are tender. Once tender, remove them from the broth and place them on a plate. Cover the ribs with foil to keep warm.

Place the pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the sauce to reduce until sauce reaches your desired consistency, about 10-15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add additional salt and pepper, as needed. Serve the ribs with sauce drizzled over the top and alongside the carrots, mushrooms, and onions.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 3 ½ hours (mostly hands off braising time)