There’s something about braised beef short ribs that makes my greedy, hungry heart jump for joy. Maybe it’s because the sheer thought of slow-cooking this big, bold cut of meat until it blissfully slides off the bone taps into my primal, inner cave-woman. Whatever the reason, I love how this dish incorporates the rich sweetness of dates and the smokiness of Arabic coffee, two of my favorite ingredients that together are a marriage made in heaven! The coffee was a last minute addition while I was developing this recipe which really adds depth and flavor to the sticky short rib sauce. Don’t worry if you can’t source Arabic coffee, any full-bodied black coffee will work with this recipe. Serve the short ribs with my lemon olive oil mashed potatoes (recipe below) and a hearty serving of green veggies or a simple salad.

*I often make the short ribs the day before and refrigerate in their liquid before serving.  You’ll notice that when cold, a sheet of solid fat rises up to the top of the liquid which you can easily discard with a spoon.  This cuts back on a lot of fattiness and gives a smoother mouthfeel to the finished dish.

Sticky Date Braised Beef Short Ribs with Lemon Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

For the Short Ribs:
Ingredients:
  • 6 Australian beef short ribs, on the bone
  • sea salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (if you are gluten-free, omit the flour)
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup date syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ cup roughly chopped seeded dates
  • 2 tablespoons freshly brewed Arabic coffee (or another strong black coffee)
  • 500 ml veal or beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional – only add the  reducing the final sauce for an extra hint of sweetness and thickness)
  • Vegetable oil

Directions:

Bring short ribs to room temperature.  Season generously with salt and pepper. Coat with flour and dust off the excess.

Heat a large pot over high heat, add vegetable oil. Add the ribs to the oil in batches. Sear so they are browned on all sides, about three minutes per side.  Remove ribs and set aside.

In the same pan, sauté onion and garlic until soft and starting to brown.  Add soy sauce, date syrup, chopped dates, and coffee. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously.  Add the stock and put the short ribs back in the pan. Top up with enough water to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from stove, Cover the pan with a lid or foil.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (325 F).

Transfer the pan to your oven. Let the meat braise gently for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

Remove pan from the oven.

If you wish to prepare the meat in advance – att this point, you can cool down the meat in it’s liquid and place the entire pan in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the fridge and discard all the visible fat that has risen to the top. Heat the meat in it’s liquid prior to proceeding to the next steps. If not preparing in advance, skip the refrigeration and continue with the recipe. Carefully take the meat out of the liquid. Set aside and keep warm.  Strain liquid into a pan, removing all the funky bits left in the sauce.  Bring to a boil, uncovered, and reduce by half until you’re left with a thick, luscious sauce. Give it a taste. If it needs a bit of sweetness, add a touch of brown sugar.

Transfer the ribs onto a serving platter.  Pour most of the sauce over the meat, reserving a little to serve on the side.  Serve beside mashed potatoes and eat immediately!

For the Mashed Potatoes:
Ingredients:
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • lemon zest (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed
Directions:

Boil potatoes until soft. Drain. Add all ingredients and mash with a fork. Serve beside the short ribs.

Bon Appétit!

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