Pinterest Instagram RSS Feed

Me overreact? Never. Easy Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine


September 22, 2010

Lucky the Dog

Lucky the Dog

I have, at rare instances in my life, been told that I’m prone to overreacting.

It began when I was three years old and was so terrified by the Wizard of Oz, that I instituted a strict moratorium on the word “witch” in our house for a number of months. The word could not even be said or I would fly into hysterics, shrieking and crying. My older brother quickly realized the power of this spoken word and would chase me around the house quietly saying “wwwwww……water! wwwwww….washing machine! wwwwwww….wish.” I found it highly traumatic.

A few years later when my friends and I were hanging out in our early tweens ( a term that did not yet even exist) I had the brilliant idea that we should all go around the room and state what we “hated” about each other. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea. Perhaps I thought it would be cathartic. The girls informed me that sometimes I made a mountain out of a molehill and that was something they didn’t care for. I immediately began adamantly defending the accusation, demanding for examples of where I’d blown things out of proportion.

So, it will come as no surprise, that the other day when I thought our older dog Lucky was dying I burst into tears, came home from work, and spent the day following him around, quietly weeping, and taking pictures and videos of him with my phone. (Note, the videos are all punctuated by a soundtrack of me sniffling, and hiccupping, so I don’t think they will be particularly comforting down the road.) When we called the vet and demanded an explanation of what could possibly be wrong that would render him so lethargic, so uncomfortable, so dying our very straightforward vet reminded us that we have a geriatric dog, who’s terminally ill, and effectively three-legged. Okay…well, besides that…I wondered.

Rest assured that Lucky made a dramatic recovery (this dog is on his 19th life), although the vet’s admonitions still ring soundly in my mind, so I’m trying to resign myself to the reality that we’re talking weeks not months here. As a result, Lucky the Dog has been deemed king of the roost. There are dog beds scattered all over the house, water bowls in every particular corner, and Lucky has been allowed to sleep in our bed, stretching out to his heart’s content. The result is sleepless nights for me, contorted in ridiculous positions so as not to disturb him, waking up each morning feeling slightly haggard and guiltily resentful. I’ve been informed this is much what having a newborn is like.

I’ve always been a firm believer that food is an excellent substitute for sleep. So the other night, I got cooking.

These braised short ribs from Food and Wine, are quite delicious, although I think they would have been better if cooked for closer to three hours versus the recommended two.  Food and Wine pairs this with egg noodles, although I personally think mashed potatoes might be better.

Cook these when life seems to be falling apart, you haven’t slept in days, and need some glimmer of a reminder of a time when you were totally on top of things.

Easy Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine
From Food & Wine , incidentally, one of my favorite cooking magazines

Easy Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine

Easy Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large celery rib, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
2 cups veal or chicken stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Four 2-inch-thick, flanken-cut short ribs with bone (2 3/4 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Buttered egg noodles, for serving


  1. In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery and carrot, cover and cook over moderate heat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 3 minutes longer. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the wine and veal stock and bring to a simmer.

    Sauteeing Vegetables

    Sauteeing Vegetables

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Season the ribs with salt and pepper, add them to the pan and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until they are well browned, about 15 minutes.

    Salt and Peppered Short Ribs

    Salt and Peppered Short Ribs

  3. Transfer the short ribs to the casserole. Partially cover and cook over moderately low heat until very tender, about 2 hours. (E.M – Two was really the bare minimum I would recommend, three would be better).
  4. Transfer the ribs to a plate and remove the bones. Strain the sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off the fat. (E.M – Discard the vegetables). Return the sauce to the casserole and boil until reduced to 2 cups, 10 minutes. Return the meat to the sauce and simmer over low heat until heated through. Serve the ribs with egg noodles. (E.M – Or mashed potatoes).


  1. Mike says:

    Sorry to hear Lucky is heading toward that Great Backyard in the Sky, but he has a loving person in his life and you certainly seemed to be blessed by having him.

    He is also a handsome fellow, I must say.

    Good recipe too, looks yummy and easy, a great combo.

  2. Erina says:

    He is handsome isn’t he?? LOL…dog mama pride, to be sure. He’s a really special dog, so yes, he will be missed. Although in the meantime, he’s living the high-life.

    Definitely try this recipe out…just do it on a Sunday instead of a Monday so you don’t end up eating at 8p!

  3. I am so in sympathy with you, Erina. At first I had to laugh when you were singing the pre-mature requiem; then, I realized I could have acted in your scenario. In fact, I have. During the year prior to Poppyseed cat’s death at age 20, I was forever going off the deep end imagining that every possible twitch and yowl meant her end was near. Then, I would somehow come to my senses and realize that Her Highness Poppy was merely expressing her 1/2 Siameseness..Now I find myself checking out 15 year old Maude and shaping up her obit. We’re cucoo…

    The stars were aligned when Matt adopted him; now he’s even luckier ’cause he has two devoted parents. Say hello for me. Cat

    • Erina says:

      Thanks Catherine. It is indeed heartbreaking. Good thing there’s always wine and delicious food to distract ourselves with!

      He still seems pretty good lately, albeit a bit more uncomfortable at times. I’m getting sleepier by the day, but glad he’s living large!

      Thanks, as always, for reading and posting.

  4. meghan says:

    well, first off I just have to ask…what kind of whacko group of friends tells each other what they hate about one another…what weirdos 🙂

    secondly, I enjoyed how you pretend that Lucky is now ‘allowed’ to sleep in your bed because he is sick…hahah, you big softies resigned to having a predominantly fur filled bed long ago….

    lastly ,kudos for writing a blog about ribs that even a vegetarian can greatly enjoy!

    • Erina says:

      1 – You’re right…friends who ask each other that are very weird. I take full blame for that one.

      2- You’re right…we’ve been a sucker for years. I just no longer even try to push him around or relegate him to the bottom of the bed. He’s smack dab in the middle taking up the whole damn thing!

      3-You’re welcome! I’ll try and do some more vegetarian items! I actually have a soup you’d probably really like that’s curried butternut squash and cauliflower.

  5. Uncle Topher says:

    That’s pretty much the sweetest post ever. I am privileged to have met Lucky and he’s pretty much the best dog ever. Yes, food is a great comfort through any hard time. Short ribs are a brilliant choice. Big hug!

  6. It is so sad when we know we are losing someone we have grown to love dearly, and with pets I think sometimes it is harder, they have loved us so unconditionally and we take them for granted too easily.
    Was going to comment more on the rib recipe but now you have me looking at my old timer, who is always sitting here beside me and I am thinking instead of worrying about our dinner, I will make him something special for his.

    • Erina says:

      Thanks for your thoughts…these dogs of ours are heart breakers, to be sure. And yes, in some ways it does feel even harder because their love is so unconditional.

      That said, once you’re done giving your four-legged guy his loving, do try the ribs. They’re worth it!

  7. Paul says:


    I am sorry to hear about Lucky. The story of his life is amazing, and so are the words you write.

    Much love to Lucky,


  8. of the many dog breeds that we have, my personal favorite is the bull terrier coz they are really cute ‘–

  9. […] Man generated more hits in one day than any other post, save for when Food & Wine re-tweeted my Short Ribs (which I was embarrassingly excited […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *