Valentine's Day // Date Night Menu with Braised Short Ribs and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Braised short ribs make the perfect date night meal because they are always delicious and very easy to pull off. They can be made the night before (in fact they taste better that way) and they taste amazing. Short ribs are a relatively cheap purchase so it's good for your budget too. I don't have to keep rambling on about the many wonders of short ribs, but I could. We have compiled the perfect menu to turn to for your Valentine's Day festivities. Mashed potatoes and salad make great sides for this dish. A nice piece of bread wouldn't hurt either. 

For the ribs:
6 servings

  • 5 lbs bone-in short ribs
  • 3 medium onions, chopped 
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped 
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 bottle dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • 4 cups beef stock 
  • 3 sprigs of thyme 
  • 3 tbls chopped parsley 
  • 4 cloves sliced garlic 
  • 2 tbls tomato paste 
  • 3 tbls olive oil 
  • 3 tbls all purpose flour 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Season the ribs with salt and pepper on all sides. In a cast iron dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Once the pan is very hot, add the ribs and sear well on all sides. Probably about 3 minutes per side. You may need to do this in batches so as to not crowd the pan. 
2. Remove the ribs and set aside on a plate. In the dutch oven, add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic, reserve one clove for later. Cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute and then pour the wine in, while stirring. 
3. Add the beef stock, the tomato paste, and herbs to the pot. Toss in the ribs and all of the juices from the plate they were resting on. Simmer this for about 30 minutes until slightly thickened. 
4. Cover with a lid and cook for 2.5- 3 hours in the oven. 
5. When the braise is finished, pull all of the ribs out of the pot and remove the bones (this should be very easy as the meat will be falling off of the bones). Place any meat back into the sauce that may have escaped with the bones. Skim the top of the stew to remove any excess fat. Mince up the remaining garlic clove and throw it in the pot just before serving. It will add an extra bounce of flavor. This is also a good point to adjust the seasonings as need (ie. salt and pepper).
6. Serve over a heaping pile of mashed potatoes. 

For the Mashed Potatoes:
6 servings

  • 7 russet potatoes, peeled 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1/2 stick butter 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
1. Fill a giant pot with the potatoes and water. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. It should take about 30 minutes to cook them through. You will know if they are cooked if they are soft when you put a fork in them. 
2. Once the potatoes have cooked, drain them and put them back into the pot. In a small saucepan warm the cream, milk, butter, and garlic. 
3. Using a potato masher, mash the cooked potatoes and gradually add the warm cream and milk. Mix and mash thoroughly and be sure to add plenty of salt and pepper. 

For the salad (optional but recommended) 
  • 1 bag of arugula or spring mix 
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
1. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, minced garlic, honey, and mustard. Toss with the lettuce and vegetables. 

The short rib recipe is based off of this recipe.
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