Beef Short Ribs in Moscatel

Gerald Hirigoyen

Bocadillos and Piperade, San Francisco; Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition (Ten Speed Press, 2009)

Found on Gerald Hirigoyen's 2010 Beard House menu and the pages of his cookbook, Pinxtos, these Basque-style short ribs are sweetened with Moscatel, a heavy-bodied Spanish dessert wine.


  • 2 pounds flanken-style beef short ribs, about 2 1/2-inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 750-milliliter bottle Moscatel wine
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 small sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile, stemmed, deseeded, and halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups veal stock or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Moscatel vinegar
  • Flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cut the ribs between the bones so you have individual pieces. Season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to a large casserole or Dutch oven, and heat over high heat until it ripples. Add the ribs to the casserole and to brown them on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Transfer to a plate.

Decrease the heat to medium, add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Return the ribs to the casserole and add the wine, thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic, chile, coriander seed, Sichuan peppercorns, fennel seed, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender.

Transfer the ribs to a plate. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a large bowl. You should have about 4 cups. Let sit for about 20 minutes, or until the fat rises to the surface. (You can also refrigerate the liquid for a few hours so the fat congeals on the surface, making it easier to remove.) Skim off the fat and discard it. Pour the defatted liquid into a saucepan, place over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook for about 12 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar. (The ribs can be returned to the liquid, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days before continuing. The flavor of the dish will improve during this rest period.)

To serve, reheat the ribs in the sauce in the oven until warmed through. Taste the sauce and add another splash of vinegar and some salt and pepper if needed. Arrange the ribs on a plate and pour the sauce over the top. Garnish with parsley.


6 servings