Tuesday, September 28, 2021

How to Braise Beef Short Ribs with Fall Vegetables in Oktoberfest Style by Cleo Coyle


My husband and I are now counting down the months (4 to go!) until the publication of our brand-new Coffeehouse Mystery HONEY ROASTED (click the cover below to learn more or pre-order).

Click here or on the cover
to learn more or pre-order.

We've put together a beautiful recipe section for HONEY ROASTED that includes (no surprise) some recipes with honey, which we've enjoyed cooking with for years. You'll even find a bit of honey in today's recipe, one that also celebrates the season of Oktoberfest. While (sadly) the annual festival in Munich, Germany, was cancelled again this year due to the ongoing pandemic, we can certainly celebrate in our own homes, and this recipe will help with that!

Cleo Coyle writes two
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 series with her husband.
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A Recipe Note from Cleo

Braised Beef Short Ribs make a fantastic fall dish. The long stretch in the oven dispels the autumn chill, and the results are rich, savory, and satisfying.

While beef can be braised in a liquid base of water, stock, or wine, Marc and I love celebrating Oktoberfest by using one of the many seasonal beers that are available at 
this time of year. These fall and winter beers and ales often feature aromatic autumn spices like nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, making them a wonderful ingredient in the kitchen (as well as in mugs for Oktoberfest drinking).

In this recipe, the beer and spices nicely complement the rich, umami taste of beef. Red potatoes and baby carrots evoke the colors of autumn, and the onions and honey lend the sweetness needed to balance out the base notes of the dish.

Marc and I always say that if something is worth drinking, it’s worth cooking, so with the "spirits" of the fall and winter season, we give you this dish of bliss. May you eat with fall harvest joy!

~ Cleo

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A Bit of Fun Oktoberfest Trivia:

Among the many fall and winter seasonal beers now featured by brewmasters, you will find "Pumpkin Ale," which has a fascinating history. In fact, the tradition of brewing pumpkin beer and ale is older than the United States itself. Colonial brewmasters used pumpkin out of necessity. Pumpkins were native to the New World. Malt was not. Because malt was more difficult to obtain, early American brewmasters turned to pumpkin as the go-to sugar to ferment into beer, at least until the 1600s, when barley malt became more plentiful. Our modern-day brewmasters have rediscovered this colonial concept and you can now find several nationally distributed pumpkin ales, as well as many fine local pumpkin brews. 

🎃 Cleo Coyle's
Braised Beef Short Ribs
with Fall Vegetables

Makes about 6 Servings


3 to 3-1/2 pounds beef short ribs

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 and 1/2 bottles (12-ounce bottles) of beer or ale (measure liquid only, not the foam, and see our note below for tips on which beer or ale to use*)
4 Tablespoons honey

3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or coarse sea salt)

1 pound baby carrots

1-1/2 pounds onions, peeled (we suggest small whole onions)

2-1/2 pounds potatoes (we suggest small red potatoes, keeping

         the skins on, which makes for nice color and presentation)

A bit of extra salt and ground pepper for Step 1

*Beer or ale note: Use 2 and 1/2 bottles for this recipe and, yes, we suggest you sip that extra half-bottle as you make it! As far as the type of beer or ale, look for an amber/brown with rich flavor or spice notes like those found in the seasonal fall and winter beers put out by brewmasters. If using a pumpkin ale (as we did) look for one that includes real pumpkin in the brewing (and not just pumpkin flavor). For an easy-to-find national brand that has both of these characteristics, try Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, which is what we like to use for this recipe.


Step 1 - Brown the meat: Preheat oven to 350° F. Salt and pepper the raw beef short ribs. 

Place a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat and warm the olive oil. When oil is very hot, add ribs, fat side down. Be careful not to crowd the pan. If your skillet is not large enough, brown in batches. Make sure to sear every side of the rib; the more you brown now, the more flavor you’ll have later.

When all the short ribs are browned, 
remove them from the pan and set them aside. 

Step 2 - Sauté the vegetables: Drain the fat from the pan, holding back a few tablespoons for flavor. Toss in the (peeled) garlic and onions, as well as the carrots and potatoes. Sauté the vegetables, stirring gently over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes. You are not cooking them, you are simply getting some of that flavorful fat on the them and allowing the outsides to lightly brown. Remove the vegetables from the heat and set aside.

Step 3 - Make the pumpkin ale braising broth: Place a large (6 to 7 quart) Dutch oven pot over medium heat, combine the pumpkin ale, honey, peppercorns, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Step 4 – Begin the cooking: Add the browned short ribs to the simmering broth in the Dutch oven pot. Pour the veggies on top. 

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place
in preheated 350° F. oven for 1 hour. 

Step 5 – Remove the cooked vegetables: After 1 hour, remove the pot from the oven and check the vegetables for doneness. If they are cooked through, remove them to prevent them from over-cooking and becoming mushy. If the vegetables are not yet cooked through (potatoes are still hard/appley in the center), continue cooking for another 15 minutes and check again. When the vegetables are done, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the Dutch oven pot and set them aside.

Step 6 – Finish the short ribs: Re-cover the pot and return it to the oven for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours. The ribs are done when the meat is buttery tender and practically falling off the bone. Just before the ribs are finished, place the vegetables back in the pot, cover with the lid, and re-warm them in the oven for 10 minutes or so.

Serve: We use the hot broth in the pot like a French au jus. To plate, place ribs in a shallow bowl with a serving of vegetables and spoon the flavorful broth over the ribs. 
Use crusty bread to sop up the juicy goodness.

Another plating idea: While Marc and I like a rustic presentation, a fine dining restaurant would more likely present these short ribs on a bed of something (say, mashed parsnips and root vegetables or couscous). We prefer something more comforting and colorful. Try mashing or puréeing a mess of sweet potatoes (you can even mix them with a little roasted pumpkin). Add cream, butter, and gently stir a small amount of the same spices you used in the braising recipes. Now that's eating with fall harvest joy!

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is me -- Cleo (Alice) 
with my husband Marc.

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