Slow Cooker Italian braised beef short ribs recipe! Combines classic, simple ingredients to create the most tender, melt in your mouth meal. Serve with creamy Parmesan polenta, and your guests will love this dish!
What was your favorite holiday gift? Jason surprised me with something kitchen related, of course, a slow cooker! He secretly had a devilish plan to trick me into making one of his favorite dishes. Fancy schmancy beef short ribs. Since we don’t get to wine and dine as much as we liked to with baby James, now we can bring the glam back to our pad. Score!
I decided to end the year off right by breaking in the new kitchen gadget. Sometimes the most simple ingredients bring out the best flavors in a recipe. These slow cooker braised beef short ribs are so tender they just melt in your mouth. It’s pretty ridiculous!
Rustic, rich flavors all from one crock pot, I really couldn’t believe that this little machine could bang out restaurant quality food. As we sipped champagne and enjoyed each delicious beefy bite, I knew I had to share our New Year’s Eve dinner with you!
Classic Italian ingredients make a wonderfully flavorful sauce for the short ribs. I used garlic, onions, tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and olive oil. That’s it! Each boneless short rib gets nestled into the sauce in the slow cooker, and it’s ready to braise.
I wish you could smell how great the aromas are from this dish. We were seriously salivating all day. I couldn’t wait to lift the lid and see if the beef was as tender as I hoped. I guarantee that it was!
My new Crock-Pot can hold up to 6 quarts. This recipe filled up about half of the container. There are typically two settings, low or high. I chose the high setting, which took just about 5 hours to cook. In that time, I was able to load up the crock pot, set the built-in timer, workout, clean the house, have lunch and pour a glass of wine at about 4 pm.
It was awesome! Who knew a slow cooker would be a mom’s best friend. If you have more errands or activities going on in your busy day, cook on low for about 8 hours.
Check it out! The low and slow cooking for hours on end really made magic happen to each piece of short rib. The pieces were so tender that you had to carefully lift each piece out of the crock pot, holding it together so it wouldn’t fall apart.
The sauce that’s created in the process melds all of the savory flavors from the beef with the sweet ripe tomatoes and pungent garlic. It was helpful to use a fat separator to capture the juices from the sauce.
The simmered whole peeled tomatoes get broken into large chunks, then combined back with as much juice as you like. Fresh chopped basil and parsley adds a hint of garden freshness to the dish.
No knife required! Each piece of braised short rib effortlessly flakes off and is so delicious. Right before serving I made a creamy polenta packed with Parmesan cheese. It took about 10 minutes to make and was an ideal combination to serve with this braised beef short ribs recipe.
We lucked out and had leftovers for the next day. With all that extra marinating, the dish was even tastier. I shredded the beef into the leftover tomato sauce and served it on top of fresh fettuccine noodles and cheese, oh wow. I think I’ve got myself in a bit of a mess because now the hubby is requesting this meal once a week!
I would love to hear how your slow cooker short rib experience goes. I’m sure you’ll be a fan like me. I can’t wait to make more recipes. I’ll be browsing the crock-pot website for more ideas.
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Why are short ribs good for braising?
Braising is when you partially submerge the protein in liquid and close the pot, cooking with delicate heat until the meat is well-done, juicy and extremely fork tender. Short ribs are higher in fat and collagen, making it a perfect candidate for braising. Short rib meat can sometimes be a tougher cut depending on the thickness and if the bone is included. Short ribs can be purchased in boneless strips like in this recipe, flanken (cut across the bone) or English (cut between the bones). If you are working with thicker cuts of meat, braising over low temperature for a long time in a covered vessel has benefits. The moisture and time can help slowly dissolve the collagen into gelatin creating a rich sauce, break down some of the tough connective tissues, and tenderize the meat. (Source: The Science of Good Cooking)
Slow Cooker Italian Braised Beef Short Ribs
- 3 cups yellow onion, medium diced
- 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes, drained, (1 can)
- 2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed, cut into 1 to 2-inches wide and 1-inch thick
- kosher salt, as needed
- black pepper, freshly ground, as needed
- 1/2 cup basil, chopped fresh
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped fresh
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup instant polenta
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- Combine onions, garlic, tomato paste, oil, oregano, and pepper flakes in bowl and microwave, occasionally stirring, until onions are softened (about 5 minutes) then transfer to slow cooker.
- Stir in tomatoes. Season ribs with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.
- Cover and cook until ribs are tender, 8 to 9 hours on low, or 5 to 6 hours on high.
- Transfer ribs to serving dish and tent with aluminum, foil.
- Strain sauce into a fat separator, reserving tomatoes and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Transfer reserved tomatoes to the now-empty slow cooker and break into large chunks with back of wooden spoon. Stir in defatted sauce and some of the garlic and onion mixture season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Make cheesy polenta just before serving the meal. Instant polenta will firm up if it sits too long after cooking.
- Bring 2 cups water, 2 cups milk and salt to boil in large saucepan.
- Slowly whisk in 1 cup instant polenta. Cook, constantly stirring, until polenta is thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately!
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