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Braised Short Ribs

March 29, 2021
Photo: Justin CovingtonPhoto: Justin Covington

Tony Maws, chef at Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts, grew up with a Sephardic grandmother who added more spice to her short ribs. Maws has taken her lead in his absolutely delicious rendition , including many of the traditional flavors to give it depth. Yet his additional spices make it cutting edge, with star anise, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, and the toasted almonds and prunes often added to Moroccan meat dishes.

Featured in: Short Ribs Are Back

Recipe by: Tony Maws


  • 7pounds beef short ribs cut in 4-inch portions
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3large Spanish onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • ¼cup vegetable oil
  • 3cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1inch piece ginger, peeled and smashed
  • ¼cup tomato paste
  • 4cups red wine
  • 2cups pitted prunes, divided
  • 2cups slivered almonds, lightly toasted, divided
  • ½bunch parsley, chopped and divided
  • ½bunch cilantro, chopped and divided
  • 1tablespoon thyme
  • 1bay leaf
  • 1stick cinnamon
  • 1clove
  • 3whole star anise
  • 2cardamom pods
  • 1teaspoon coriander seeds
  • Zest of 1 orange cut in strips
  • 4cups beef broth
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • Step 1

    Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and allow them to sit at room temperature for half an hour. Meanwhile, combine the onions, carrots, and celery in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, and pulse about 6 to 8 times until the pieces are chunky and relatively the same size, about 1 inch thick.

  • Step 2

    Set a heavy wide pan over medium-high heat and add the oil, heating until the oil shimmers. Add the beef and sear well, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

  • Step 3

    Add the onion mixture, garlic, and ginger to the pan and stir until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and broth and cook for 1 minute, until the color begins to turn brick red. Turn the heat to high, and add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Add 1 cup of the prunes and 1 cup of the toasted almonds. Tie up half of the parsley with the cilantro and bay leaf into an herb bouquet and put the thyme, cinnamon, clove, star anise, cardamom, coriander, and orange zest in a piece of cheesecloth or an herb infuser. Add them to the pot with the wine and vegetables and return the short ribs to the pot. Bring to a boil.

  • Step 5

    Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for approximately 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bones. Cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate overnight.

  • Step 6

    Skim the fat off the top of the mixture, then transfer the beef to a large bowl, discarding any loose bones, the herb bouquet, and the cheesecloth or herb infuser. Add the remaining cup of prunes. Heat, stirring occasionally, until gently reheated. Garnish with the remaining parsley, cilantro, and almonds and serve.