By Diane Rossen Worthington

Beef short ribs are one of the most flavorful cuts of beef. Long, slow- cooking produces meltingly- tender meat that almost falls off the bone. It is important to select extra lean short ribs because they will create less fat in the sauce, yet still remain very tender. This Island-inspired sauce only gets better if left a few days for the flavors to meld.

Short ribs come from the chuck portion of the cow and are cooked in many different ways. I am partial to long braising for a tenderizing effect that also brings out their rich and intense flavor. This slow cooking method contributes a deep beef flavor to the sauce.

Most short ribs you find at the market are already cut into individual pieces. You can also find them sold as pieces that have been cut across the bone into thick or thin crosscut slices. Some meat departments offer boneless short ribs as well. Try to find extra lean short ribs since they are naturally marbled with fat. Even if extra-lean ribs are selected, the braising liquid must still be skimmed to remove excess fat. It’s best to make your ribs ahead so you can refrigerate them and let the fat harden for easy removal. Enjoy these with either mashed potatoes, Israeli couscous or soft polenta.

Prepare these ribs on a lazy weekend day and put them in the refrigerator. Then you can enjoy them later without fuss when all that is required is a quick reheat.
Help is on the Way:
• Advance Preparation: Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Remove fat and reheat gently
• The short ribs freeze beautifully.
• If you prefer boneless short ribs, decrease the meat amount to 3 1/2 pounds.
• For interest add 1 cup of roasted sweet or green chilies.
• Any leftover short ribs make an outstanding pasta sauce. Shred the meat and add to your favorite tomato sauce.

Island Style Braised Short Ribs

Serves 6

5 pounds extra-lean short ribs of beef, cut into 3 4 inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large leeks, light green and white part, chopped
11/2 cups mango nectar + 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon chipotle puree or chipotle Tabasco sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, for garnish

1. Season the ribs with the salt and pepper.

2. Preheat the oven to 325F. Heat a large non stick skillet to medium-high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, using kitchen tongs to turn and brown them evenly, about 7-10 minutes in batches. (You shouldn’t need any oil since there is fat in the meat and you are using a non-stick pan.) Remove the ribs with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels and then place in a large Dutch oven or heavy flameproof casserole.

3. In the same frying pan, add the oil, and saute the leeks for about 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently and watching carefully so that they brown but do not burn. Add 1 1/2 cups of the nectar, tequila, beef stock and chipotle puree or sauce and mix to combine. Increase the heat to high and simmer for 1 minute to mix the flavors. Pour the sauce mixture over the short ribs and mix to combine.

4. Bake the ribs, covered, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender, turning the ribs every 45 minutes during the cooking time. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. When ready to serve: Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and carefully discard the thick layer of fat with a spoon. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of nectar and place the casserole on the stove. Carefully reheat the ribs on medium for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the scallions and serve immediately.