Pomegranate and red wine–braised short ribs


Photo: Penny De Los Santos

Naama Shefi – founder of the Jewish Food Society, who collated the recipes in The Jewish Holiday Table writes:

Sweet-and-sour braised meat dishes are staples in Sasha’s family—everyone from her grandmother to her mom and aunt has their own version. “These dishes were often made at the start of the week and eaten for a few days into the week, getting better by the day,” Sasha says. These short ribs braised with tangy pomegranate juice and red wine and fragrant with the Moroccan spice mix ras el hanout are her take on the braises she grew up with.

You can make this recipe using a slow cooker instead of braising the short ribs in the oven. For the slow cooker, brown the short ribs on the stovetop first as directed in the recipe, then transfer them to the slow cooker, along with the sautéed onions and garlic and the braising liquid, and cook on low for 8 hours. You can also make the dish a day ahead and reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.

Sasha recommends serving the ribs with fried potatoes, or with something creamy like polenta, parsnip puree, or mashed potatoes, along with fresh parsley, fresh dill, and freshly chopped garlic.

Serves: 6 – 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 ½ – 3 ½ hours

2.7 - 3.6 kg bone-in short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp ras el hanout
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 medium yellow onions (675 g), cut into 2cm pieces
6 - 8 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
600ml homemade or canned low-sodium beef broth
85g honey
3 tbsp tomato paste
480 ml good-quality dry red wine
720ml unsweetened pomegranate juice
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
Juice of 1 large orange
2 tsp brown sugar
Strips of orange peel from 1 large orange (removed with a peeler)
4 or 5 thyme sprigs, wrapped in a square of cheesecloth and tied into a small bundle with kitchen string


  • Take the short ribs out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  • Generously season the short ribs all over with salt and pepper and the ras el hanout. Heat the vegetable oil in a an ovenproof heavy-bottomed, lidded pot (at least 10L) over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pot, sear the short ribs, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a bowl and set aside.
  • If there’s more than about 2 tablespoons of fat left in the pot, spoon off the excess fat. Add the onions to the pot and sauté over medium heat until soft and light gold, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and stir.
  • Add 120ml of the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula to dissolve the pan juices, then add the honey and tomato paste and stir to blend. Add the remaining 480ml broth, the wine, pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, if using, orange juice, and brown sugar and stir well.
  • Return the short ribs to the cooking pot, along with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Tuck the orange peel and thyme bundle in among the ribs and cover with the lid. Bring the liquid to a lively simmer over medium-high heat, then transfer the pot to the oven. Cook the short ribs until the meat is falling off the bones, 2½ to 3 hours; start checking for doneness after 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let the short ribs rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid from the pot and spoon off the excess fat from the surface, then taste the braising liquid and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed. If the braising liquid seems thin, remove the short ribs and simmer the liquid until thickened and more concentrated in flavor; return the meat to the liquid and simmer to reheat.
  • Serve the short ribs with the braising liquid, spooned over your choice of accompaniment (see introduction).

Recipe adapted from The Jewish Holiday Table by Naama Shefi and the Jewish Food Society with Devra Ferst (Artisan Books) Copyright 2024

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