I’m craving Belgian abbey ales. Dubbels and trippels, blonds and saisons, every week I pick up a few of the extra-large bottles. Whether they’re brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium, or an American brewery specializing in the abbey style, I haven’t been disappointed yet.
Which brought me to dinner. (My thoughts always turn to dinner, eventually.) What goes with a Belgian ale? Beer braised short ribs, of course.
*The only problem with the recipe was bringing myself to pour the beer in the pot. I hate to waste beer…even if I’m not really wasting it.
As usual, I’m using my pressure cooker to speed things up. I love having tender short ribs in under an hour.
*Also as usual, if you don’t have a pressure cooker, check out the variations section for a non-pressured version of the recipe.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Short Ribs Braised with Beer
Adapted From: Judy Rodgers, Short Ribs braised with Chimay Ale, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook
Cooking time: 60 minutes
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I used my electric Cuisinart Pressure Cooker)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 4 pounds beef short ribs, cut between the bones into 2 inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons plus 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 3 ounces tomato paste (half of a can, about 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup Belgian dark ale (I like Brewery Ommegang Abbey Ale)
- 1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade) or water
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 dried portobello mushroom, rinsed
1. Brown the ribs:
Season the ribs with the 2 teaspoons of salt. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in your pressure cooker pot until it is shimmering. Add half the ribs, and sear for 3 minutes per side, or until well browned. (I treat the ribs as if they have four “sides”, so this should take about 12 minutes. Make sure one of the “sides” is bone side down – that will help render some of the fat.) Remove the browned ribs to a bowl. Add the second half of the ribs to the pot, and sear for 3 minutes per side. Move the second batch into to the bowl with the rest of the browned ribs. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the cooker.
2. Saute the aromatics:
Add the onion and tomato paste to the pot. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute for five minutes, or until the onions are softened and the tomato paste is starting to darken. Add the beer and the chicken stock to the pot, increase the heat to high, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits from the bottom.
3. Pressure cook the short ribs:
Add the thyme, bay leaves, mushroom, and reserved beef to the pot, and stir everything until it is well mixed. Get as many ribs submerged in the liquid as you can. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain that pressure and cook for 35 minutes (40 minutes for an electric pressure cooker). Remove from the heat, allow the pressure to come down naturally for at least 15 minutes, then quick release any pressure left in the pot.
4. Finish the short ribs:
Remove the short ribs from the pot with a slotted spoon. Discard the thyme, bay leaves, and mushroom. Pour the remaining liquid into a fat separator and let it rest for ten minutes for the fat to float to the surface. Serve the ribs with the degreased sauce. (If you have time, boil the degreased sauce over high heat until reduced by half, then serve.)
- Don’t have a pressure cooker? No worries. Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid, and increase the amount of chicken stock and beer to 2 cups each. Follow the instructions right up until “lock the lid”. Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, and cover with the lid. Move the pot to a preheated 350*F oven and bake until the short ribs are tender, about 2 hours. Continue with the “finish the short ribs” step.
- This recipe tastes even better if you can make it a day ahead of time. Cook it through step 3, then let the pot cool down to room temperature. Cover the pot and store it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, scrape that fat cap off the top of the stew. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for ten minutes or until heated through.
- You don’t really have to use a Belgian ale with this. Any brown ale will do.
- I cooked these short ribs under pressure longer than usual – they were extra thick, and I wanted to make sure they were tender. It worked out perfectly – the 2 inch thick ribs took 40 minutes in my electric PC.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Judy Rodgers, Short Ribs braised with Chimay Ale, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook
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