Instant Pot: Braised Boneless Short Ribs

One of my favorite cuts of beef of all time is short ribs. There's something about the way it's marbled with just the right amount of fat and so full of unctuous, meaty flavor. Yum! When I was at the store the other day, I came across some boneless short ribs. I normally work with short ribs with the bones (as bones add a lot of flavor to the dishes) but picked up a package of these boneless ones to try. I found this recipe for Braised Boneless Short Ribs and was pleasantly surprised. These ribs came out so tender but even more surprisingly was that they weren't as greasy or oily and could be made in a shorter time than using ribs with bones....

A lot of braised short rib recipes take hours to prepare because the cut requires a slow cook to bring out the flavor and texture that it's known for. This recipe, however, allows you to get all that flavor and texture and save time as well using the Instant Pot. The boneless ribs are browned and then pressure cooked in a combination of red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon) and a little beef broth. Aromatics such as bay leaf, fresh sprigs of thyme, garlic and onions also add to the deep flavor these ribs have. After the ribs have pressure cooked, the liquid is reduced and thickened with gelatin for a silky texture. I served this over buttery mashed potatoes for a truly comforting meal.

Braised Boneless Short Ribs
from Cook's Illustrated/Food

teaspoons kosher salt
teaspoon ground black pepper
3 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat removed
tablespoons vegetable oil
cups thinly sliced onions (2 large onions)
tablespoon tomato paste
medium garlic cloves, peeled
cups red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon) 
cup beef broth 
large carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks
sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon gelatin powder

In your Instant Pot:

Plug in the IP with insert set in place.

Pat beef dry with paper towels. Stir together salt and pepper and sprinkle over beef.

Press SAUTE and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add half of beef and cook without moving, 4-6 minutes, until well browned. Turn beef over and cook second side until well browned, another 4-6 minutes. If fat begins to smoke, reduce heat. Transfer beef to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining oil and beef.

In the now empty IP, add onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened and barely browned, 12-15 minutes. (If onions darken too quickly, add 1-2 tbsp water to pot.).

Add tomato paste and stir constantly until it browns on sides and bottom of pan, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.

Add wine, and simmer, scraping up fond from sides and bottom.

Add beef broth, carrots, thyme, and bay leaf.

Add beef and any juices in the bowl. Cover and bring to a simmer.

Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING.

Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 75 minutes on HIGH pressure.

The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure.

Once at pressure, the display will reflect 75 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes.

When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 75 minutes, allow your IP to naturally release pressure for 15-20 minutes. While naturally releasing pressure (also known as NPR or NR), the display will reflect numbers counting up from 1. The numbers indicate how many minutes the IP has stopped cooking since it beeped (or how many minutes it has been naturally releasing pressure).  No need to touch your IP while it naturally releases pressure. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open.

Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen).

When done, a fork will slip easily in and out of meat. Using tongs, transfer meat and carrots to serving platter; tent with foil.

Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 5 minutes. Strain cooking liquid through a fine strainer into a fat separator. Press on solids to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard solids. Allow to settle, then strain off fat.

Press OFF and stir in bloomed gelatin; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over meat and serve.