Braised Flanken (Short Ribs) in Tomato Sauce over Noodles

Nothing says winter like a big honkin' bowl of slow-cooked stick-to-your-ribs ribs.  Today's recipe is a variation of one of the flanken (short ribs) recipes in my cookbook.   I wish it were perfected in time for me to include it, but it wasn't, so I didn't.

This recipe makes a whole lot of servings.  I have a large meat slow cooker, and (TIP ALERT!) most slow cookers work best when half to 3/4 full.  Generally speaking, if too little is in the cooker, the food might burn.  Conversely, if the cooker is filled to the brim, it will take too long to reach safe cooking temperature.

As is true with most of my slow cooker recipes, you can speed up the prep by merely tossing all the ingredients into the slow cooker, plugging it in and walking away for 6 hours.

But the searing caramelizes the short ribs into OMG flavor that makes the extra 10 minutes or so totally worth it.  Your family is totally worth 10 minutes out of your life ... no?


When I have a large amount of something in the house, it goes into everything.   This week it's garlic.  I have a couple of bulbs fresh garlic, so anything I make this week, short of cheerios, gets a clove or two of the stinking rose.  Hummus ... beet dip ... anything.

To avoid the crock insert from possibly cracking, do not put immediately into fridge.  Remove the crock from its outer housing (BTW, I am assuming here that your slow cooker actually has a removable insert) and let cool a bit before refrigerating, or transfer its contents to a large casserole or other heat/fridge safe container.

Wine gives an extra depth of flavor, but I have been known to sub with beer.  Or chicken broth, depending upon whether I feel like it or not the occasion.  At this moment we are still digging out from a foot of Polar Vortex 2.0.  Definitely a wine day.  Some even went into the slow cooker.

Braised Flanken (Short Ribs) in Tomato Sauce over Noodles
Yield: 10-12 servings

2 Tbl. olive oil
6 (3 to 4 lbs. total) Beef Flanken (Short Ribs), left whole
1 bay leaf
1 Tbl. brown sugar
1 Tbl. dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, Crushed
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
1 cup white wine (or beer or chicken broth)
1 (28 Oz.) can diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 Oz.) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 (12-16 oz). bags of wide noodles (curly or flat)
1/4 packed cup chopped parsley, for garnish

Heat  oil in a wide heavy pot or skillet over high heat.  Sear flanken, about 2 minutes per side or until nicely browned (will not be cooked through).

Transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker, stacking as necessary to fit, and set aside. Do not wash pot.

This is why you pre-saute ... see how the onions
picked up the yummy bits stuck to the bottom?

Add onions to "dirty" pot. Saute for two minutes, or until softened, then add garlic.  Continue to saute for another 30 seconds, then stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine and bay leaf.

Pour tomato mixture over flanken.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until ribs are extremely tender.

Allow 30 minutes to cool, then cover tightly and refrigerate until well chilled, several hours up to overnight. When thoroughly chilled, remove any congealed fat from the top and discard.

Slice off and discard the rib bones, the cut flanken into 1-inch pieces.  Scoop out sauce and pour over flanken. Cover and reheat in microwave, a 350F oven or over medium heat on stovetop, until ribs and sauce are heated and sauce is bubbly.  

Meanwhile, cook noodles as per package directions.   Drain and keep warm until ribs are ready.

Delicious even without the parsley.

Divide noodles onto 4 or six dinner plates.  Spoon ribs and sauce over each.. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired, before serving.