pomegranate-braised short ribs with parsnip purée

A hearty and satisfying dish that’s perfect served over anything that can sop up all the juices from the short ribs. Mashed potatoes or creamy polenta work well, but for something different try serving the short ribs over a creamy parsnip purée. Its light, velvety texture balances out really well with the richness of the short ribs.

6 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, thickly sliced
3 celery stalks (plus some leaves), washed and chopped
2 carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups red wine
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2-1 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish, optional

Parsnip Purée
2 pounds parsnips, washed, peeled, and diced into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup (whole) milk or heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Allow short ribs to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  3. Pat dry short ribs and season on all sides with salt and pepper. 
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven (with a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Brown ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary. Remove pan from heat and transfer short ribs to a large plate. Drain oil from pan and carefully wipe out pan. 
  5. Place pan back over medium heat and add remaining2 tablespoons oil. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook until softened, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and thyme and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until incorporated, another 1-2 minutes. Slowly add wine to deglaze pan, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Add pomegranate juice and bring to a boil. 
  6. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, and return short ribs to pan (along with any accumulated juices). Cover pan and transfer to oven. Cook for approximately 3 hours (check every hour and add more liquid, if needed), until meat is tender and falls off bone.
  7. Meanwhile, make purée. Place parsnips in large saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Add a pinch of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until softened and parsnips can be easily pierced with a knife, 15-20 minutes (cooking time depends on size of parsnips).
  8. Drain parsnips, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Transfer parsnips to a blender or food processor and add cooking liquid, butter, and milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper. Purée until parsnips are smooth and creamy, taking care not to over process or mixture may become gluey. Add in a bit more milk or cream, if necessary. Transfer purée back to saucepan to keep warm. 
  9. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer short ribs to a large platter. Skim off fat from top of sauce (or transfer to a fat separator, let sit briefly, and then discard fat). Place Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. 
  10. To serve, add some parsnip purée to bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with short rib(s) and some sauce. Garnish with a few pomegranate seeds (if using). Repeat with remaining bowls. 

Serves 4-6.