Beef short ribs are perfect for braising. It is a substantial chunk of meat resting on a solid base of bone. The bone will make it keep its shape, even after hours of braising. There is enough marbling in the meat to help baste it, but not so much that the dish is greasy.
Use the English cut, where the meat is sliced on either side of the rib. This will give you a slightly rectangular block of meat resting on a single piece of rib. It is not an expensive cut, probably slightly more than bone-in shin, but much cheaper than any steak.
Like steak, your plate is built around the meat. Depending on the appetite of your guests, get one or two ribs per person, around 150 – 250g each.
Although short ribs need a long braise, you will probably spend 20 minutes getting it in the oven and 10 minutes finishing it.
English cut short ribs (cut parallel to the rib, one bone per unit)
1 onion peeled and sliced in two or three rounds
1 carrot peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 celery stalk split down the length and cut in half
4 or 5 cloves of garlic cut in half
50g tomato paste
Sprigs of rosemary or thyme
About 300ml of quaffable red wine. You can substitute the wine with a splash of Balsamic
200ml of beef or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 170°C
Brown the veggies in olive oil in an ovenproof dish on the stove while you season the meat on all sides with salt and pepper.
Remove and set aside the veggies and brown the meat on all sides, ending with the bone on the bottom. Cook in the tomato paste, making sure it is cooked into the dish.
Tuck the veggies between the pieces of meat.
Add the wine and stock, with the liquid about halfway up the meat. Put the lid on the dish (use foil to get a tight fit if needed) and braise in the oven for 2h30.
Remove the meat to your serving dish.
Squeeze the juices from the veggies with the back of a spoon to boost the sauce in the dish. Pour through a sieve into your gravy boat.
Serve with mash and a vegetable with texture, like whole brown mushrooms or green beans.