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  • Writer's pictureScott Rotella

A Taste of Elegance: Balsamic Glazed Short Ribs to Impress Your Guests


Balsamic Glazed Short Ribs with browned butter bucatini and burst grape tomatoes
Balsamic Glazed Short Ribs with browned butter bucatini and burst grape tomatoes

How many meals have you had out at a restaurant that were fantastic and memorable?  I can count a few.  But one meal that I had out was truly the most memorable food experience I have had at a restaurant.  It was at a restaurant called Campiello’s in the uptown area of Minneapolis.  It has since closed along with a second restaurant in Eden Prairie MN. They still have an existing one in Naples Florida.  If you happen to find yourself  in Naples, I highly recommend going there.


I ordered the balsamic glazed short ribs that were served with a simple side of spaghetti in oil.  The meat was flavorful, tender and had an incredible sweet and savory balsamic glaze.  The pasta was simple and elegant.  Frankly, it blew me away.  I did return at least a few times and the experience was consistent.  I have no clue what their other dishes were like, since this was literally one of the best meals of my life–I was not going to stray and try something else. 


A few years later, I found that they published their short rib recipe online. Excitedly, I decided to give it a go for a New Year’s Eve dinner.  The ribs were braised in white wine with vegetables.  Simple enough.  The ribs were then heated and glazed in a pan with a housemade balsamic glaze. The glaze seemed simple enough. It had balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, veal broth, whole garlic bulbs, rosemary, butter and brown sugar that is reduced many times.  I decided I was going to make it exactly as specified.  Well, my first attempt failed.  


The recipe starts by melting butter in a large stock pot.  Then you sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and place garlic bulbs into the pot that are cut along the equator, cut side down.  Once the garlic is browned, you add the balsamic vinegar and reduce it. Then you add the stocks and reduce it by 80%.


Here is where things went wrong.  First, reducing balsamic vinegar creates significant fumes.  It was impossible to be in the kitchen without coughing up a lung.   But, what I soon learned was that the vinegar reduction stripped the finish off of my very new kitchen cabinet pulls.  Ouch!  Second, by the time I had a decent reduction, the butter, brown sugar and garlic sitting on the bottom of the pot burned.  It created an acrid flavor that ruined the reduction.  I quickly reconfigured and tried again.  Unfortunately, I was short of balsamic and veal broth (it uses a ton). So I had to improvise a bit.  It turned out okay, but was not the ribs of my memories.  


On a subsequent attempt, I made the reduction on an outdoor burner to not ruin my new cabinet pulls. I tried to do this low and slow, but it still had a bit of a burnt taste. The butter, brown sugar and garlic becomes caramelized and eventually becomes one with the pot. Frankly I was stumped on how to make this successfully.


I finally decided that I needed a different way to make the glaze while retaining the signature flavor and mouthfeel.  What I developed was simpler and faster but definitely gave me the flavor that I wanted. 


This is the first time I am posting a recipe that is not solely one I developed.  I am breaking one of my original rules, but it is so worth it.  You will enjoy this!


Balsamic Glazed Short Ribs


This is the perfect recipe for entertaining. You can make the components ahead of time  and then spend 10 minutes glazing the ribs in a pan until they are sticky and warmed through.  


Braising the Short Ribs

Ingredients

  • Beef Short Ribs:  I like about a 4 inch long bone for this. One to two per person. Costco tends to have long bones that I just ask the butcher at Costco to cut.  Otherwise, I order them from my grocery store or butcher.  

  • Mirepoix: Made with celery, onion and carrots.  I sometimes take a shortcut and get mirepoix already chopped from Trader Joe’s.  

  • Fresh Rosemary:  This is critical to the braise and the ribs. 

  • Fresh Thyme:  This is my favorite herb for beefy or savory foods.

  • White Wine:  This uses two bottles. I tend to use Costco’s Kirkland brand boxed Chardonnay for this. It works well and is reasonably priced. 

  •  Freshly cracked black pepper

  • Sea Salt

  • Olive Oil


Instructions

  • Generously salt and pepper the ribs

  • Heat olive oil in a large pan / Dutch oven  to nearly smoking and add the ribs.

  • Turn the heat down to medium and carefully brown the meat on all sides. Do not scorch or burn the meat.

  • Remove the ribs and place into your braising pan.

  • Deglaze the pan used to brown the ribs with the white wine, scraping the brown bits from the bottom

  • Cook the wine to reduce a bit.

  • Pour the wine from the pan into the braising pan with the ribs.

  • Add the vegetables and herbs on top of the ribs. Sprinkle some salt onto the vegetables.

  • Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in a 350F oven and bake for 3 hours.

  • Check the ribs at the 2 hour point and add some chicken or beef stock if too much liquid has been lost.


As a side note:  I have found that if I braise in a Dutch oven, I can turn the heat off at the 2 hour point and just let the ribs hang out in the oven.  The Dutch oven will keep the temperature in a safe zone for hours while the ribs continue to get more tender. 


Making the Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients

  • Balsamic glaze:  I start this with an already reduced glaze.  My go to brand is Mazetti’s Chef’s Reduction.  It is thick, really good and priced well.  Otherwise, you can certainly use any balsamic glaze. 

  • Beef stock:  I usually make my chicken stock, but I can’t find a better beef stock that I like more than one made with Better Than Bouillon Beef base. It is way better than canned or boxed beef stock.  

  • Brown sugar

  • Garlic

  • Fresh Rosemary

  • Butter


This is so good that you may want to make a double batch.


Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the butter in a saucepan over medium heat

  • Stir fairly regularly

  • Cook until the sauce reduces about a third and starts to become syrupy.

  • Pour through a medium sieve to remove the solids and set the reduction aside


Final Assembly

  • When the ribs are fork tender, remove and cool.

  • Strain and reserve the braising liquid and discard the vegetables and herbs.

  • Over medium heat in a large pan, add the ribs, 1/2 cup of braising liquid, the reduced glaze and 2 sprigs of rosemary.

  • Cook over medium heat while spooning the liquid over the ribs until the ribs are nicely glazed. If it gets too thick, adjust by adding more of the braising liquid.

  • At the end, swirl in a couple of teaspoons of butter to add richness and gloss.



Note:

  • In the lead picture, the short ribs are served with bucatini and roasted tomatoes in a browned butter, garlic and parmigiano. I started by cutting the tomatoes and tossing with olive oil, salt, pepper and granulated garlic. They are roasted in the oven just enough to get a little char. While the pasta was cooking, I browned some butter. When the butter started to brown, I threw in some chopped garlic and them some parm. I then added the pasta and some of the pasta water. I like bucatini, but in the future, I feel spaghetti is a better option. I would also finish with some chopped Italian parsley.

  • This would be great served with roasted brussels sprouts in the side.

  • Some of the links on this page and other posts may be affiliate links where we get a small commission for any resulting purchases. I use this to offset the costs of creating and running this website and appreciate your support.

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