Instant Pot Balsamic Beef Short Ribs

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I would like to introduce you to the most delicious savory meal I’ve ever had. Totally serious!

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And it came about serendipitously. I learned that there was a Sur La Table in our vicinity, a store which for years I’d been dying to visit ever since seeing a contestant on US Hell’s Kitchen blow $1,000 there on a shopping spree. It looked like heaven with whisks! My husband and I made a beeline there, and I honestly wondered where that store had been all my life. We were there to purchase our first ever roasting pan (hell yeah!!), and as we stood at the checkout line, we mentioned to the clerk that we were going to use this pan to cook our new short ribs. My husband had seen the ribs earlier that week and purchased them on a whim; neither of us really knew what to do with them, but whatever it was destined to be, it would be beefy.

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The nice man behind the counter understood beefy. Oh, he understood it very well.

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He shared with us his beefy wisdom, as a matter of fact. Instead of roasting the short ribs, we could… cook them in an Instant Pot! My husband and I were enlightened. As it so happens, Sur La Table is the store of cookery enlightenment. (And it sells Valrhona, my favourite chocolate! Hallelujah!) We have an Instant Pot, but we mainly use it to prepare chili. We’d heard whispers that you could use the Instant Pot for exotic things like cheesecakes, but short ribs? Where do we sign?!

 

The clerk shared with us that there is even a cookbook for just such things: Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. Not the most romantic title, but it gets the point across. The clerk pointed us to this balsamic short ribs recipe, and we went home with our roasting pan (roasted chicken, here we come!) and a new recipe to try. (We bought the cookbook a couple of weeks later, and I gotta say, it has some tasty looking recipes in there that will be making their way onto this blog!)

 

This is my favourite beef recipe, EVER, hands down. The balsamic vinegar, the tomatoes, and the red wine (something we added to the recipe, which doesn’t mention red wine) infuse into some kind of richness that is hard to describe. It doesn’t taste like vinegar, and it doesn’t taste like tomato. It tastes like the essence of meat, like the best spaghetti sauce you’ve ever had – times one million. It’s a bold, beefy red sauce that manages to convey delicately balanced herbal notes: There are many contributing flavour notes from thyme, bay leaves, and aromatics (mainly garlic and onion). We made this four times in one week because it’s so damned delicious.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker), bring everything, including the meat, to a simmer in a Dutch oven after you’ve added the tomatoes and vinegar mixture. (See end of post for more detailed instructions for cooking this in a Dutch oven.) Cook in the Dutch oven at 300°F for 2 hours, or until the rib meat is tender and falling off the bones.

Note: This recipe fits an 8 quart Instant Pot. You’ll have to reduce the amounts in concert if you have a smaller pot.

Instant Pot Balsamic Beef Short Ribs

Ingredients:
Approximately 410 g. crushed tomatoes, either fresh or canned (if fresh, simply puree the tomatoes in a food processor)
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. red wine (Merlot works well here), divided
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 – 6 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 onion, cut into quarters or eighths
whole baby potatoes (around a dozen), optional
either baby or whole carrots (chop off ends of whole carrots and scrub; it isn’t necessary to chop them), optional
Olive oil, for sauteeing
5 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Method:
If using fresh tomatoes, puree them in a food processor.

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Combine balsamic vinegar, water, and half the red wine; add thyme sprigs and bay leaves and set aside.

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Smash garlic and chop onion and, if using other vegetables, prepare them as desired. Set aside.

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Heat oil in a large sautee pan (12″ minimum; we sometimes use a 17″ cast iron skillet) until just starting to smoke. Meanwhile, pat short ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

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Brown ribs in batches and transfer to a large bowl; you’ll want to reserve the juices from this.

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Add smashed garlic to sautee pan and deglaze with about 1/4 cup red wine. Cook garlic for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

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Add tomatoes and vinegar mixture (including thyme sprigs and bay leaves); stir to combine thoroughly. If we’re using the cast iron pan, we add the short ribs and onions at this point and let everything cook together for a few minutes until it reaches a simmer. We deglaze the pan with red wine if needed at this stage.

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If not using larger pan, don’t add onions or ribs yet and instead transfer mixture to Instant Pot. Add onions and short ribs, including any accumulated juices. If using additional vegetables, place on top of ribs.

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Lock lid (make sure it’s not set to ‘Venting’!) and press ‘Manual.’ Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Use the ‘Quick Release’ method (set the lid to ‘Venting’).

The bones will practically fall out of the ribs. You can either serve them on plates with a drizzle of sauce, or in bowls with lots of sauce in the form of a stew.

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Method without pictures:
If using fresh tomatoes, puree them in a food processor. Combine balsamic vinegar, water, and half the red wine; add thyme sprigs and bay leaves and set aside.

Smash garlic and chop onion and, if using other vegetables, prepare them as desired. Set aside.

If using Dutch oven method: Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven until just starting to smoke.

If using Instant Pot: Heat oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven large sautee pan (12″ minimum; we sometimes use a 17″ cast iron skillet) until just starting to smoke.

Meanwhile, pat short ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Brown ribs in batches and transfer to a large bowl; you’ll want to reserve the juices from this.

Add smashed garlic to pan and deglaze with about 1/4 cup red wine. Cook garlic for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and vinegar mixture (including thyme sprigs and bay leaves); stir to combine thoroughly. At this stage:

If using Dutch oven, add short ribs and onions (deglaze pan with red wine if needed). Bring everything to a simmer and cook in a 300°F oven for about 2 hours, or until beef is literally falling off the bones.

If using Instant pot, transfer mixture from sautee pan to Instant Pot.* Add onions and short ribs, including any accumulated juices. If using additional vegetables, place on top of ribs.

*If we’re sauteeing in the cast iron pan, we add the short ribs and onions at this point and let everything cook together for a few minutes until it reaches a simmer. We deglaze the pan with red wine if needed at this stage. We then transfer everything to the Instant Pot.

Lock lid (make sure it’s not set to ‘Venting’!) and press ‘Manual.’ Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Use the ‘Quick Release’ method (set the lid to ‘Venting’).

The bones will practically fall out of the ribs. You can either serve them on plates with a drizzle of sauce, or in bowls with lots of sauce in the form of a stew.

Source: Adapted from Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook (2017) by Sara Quessenberry & Kate Merker

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One thought on “Instant Pot Balsamic Beef Short Ribs

  1. Pingback: Belgian Beef, Ale, & Onion Stew (Carbonnade à la Flamande) | KitchEnchanted

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