The hallmark of an oven braised short rib recipe is meat so tender it falls off the bone. Braised short ribs frequently appear on restaurant menus but can often be daunting to attempt at home. This recipe for braised beef short ribs brings the restaurant home. Our Mediterranean-inspired take on classic, red wine–braised ribs boasts meltingly tender beef and a deeply flavorful sweet but tart sauce made with pomegranate juice and figs.
Tips to Nail this Oven Braised Short Rib Recipe
Roasting the short ribs in the oven enabled us to render and discard a significant amount of fat. After braising, we de-fatted the cooking liquid, then blended it with the vegetables and part of the figs to create a velvety sauce.
For the figs, we prefer Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid Mission Figs with their deep, earthy sweetness that accents the rounded tanginess of the pomegranate juice. You could also use Golden Figs for a more delicate flavor.
Short ribs come in two styles: English-style ribs contain a single rib bone and a thick piece of meat. Flanken-style ribs are cut thinner and have several smaller bones. While either will work here, we prefer the less expensive and more readily available English-style ribs. If using flanken-style ribs, flip the ribs halfway through roasting in step 1.
The main spice in our recipe for braised beef short ribs is ras el hanout. Literally defined as “head of shop,” this complex Moroccan spice blend traditionally features a host of warm spices; the flavor and spiciness of store-bought versions can vary greatly by brand, or you can make your own.
Serve it spooned over polenta with a garnish of cilantro and sprinkle on sesame seeds.
Pomegranate Oven Braised Short Rib Recipe with Figs + Sesame
- 4 pounds bone-in English-style short ribs , trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion , chopped fine
- 1 carrot , peeled and chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons ras el hanout
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 1/2 cups (9oz) Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs , stemmed and halved
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450°F. Pat short ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Arrange ribs bone side down in a single layer in a large roasting pan and roast until meat begins to brown, about 45 minutes.
- Discard any accumulated fat and juices in pan and continue to roast until meat is well browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer ribs to bowl and tent loosely with aluminum foil; set aside. Stir pomegranate juice and water into pan, scraping up any browned bits; set aside.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in ras el hanout and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in pomegranate mixture from roasting pan and ½ cup figs and bring to simmer. Nestle short ribs bone side up into pot and bring to simmer. Cover, transfer pot to oven, and cook until ribs are tender and fork slips easily in and out of meat, about 2½ hours.
- Transfer short ribs to bowl, discard any loose bones, and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Strain braising liquid through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator; transfer solids to blender. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then pour defatted liquid into blender with solids and process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Transfer sauce to now-empty pot and stir in vinegar and remaining 1 cup figs. Return short ribs and any accumulated juices to pot, bring to gentle simmer over medium heat, and cook, spooning sauce over ribs occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer short ribs to serving platter, spoon 1 cup sauce overtop, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.