Dark beers lend deep, mildly sweet taste to meats that require long, slow cooking—like these short ribs. To maximize flavor, braise the meat a day ahead. Flavors will develop more fully and the fat will rise to the top where, after chilling, it’s easily removed. We use boneless short ribs here for ease of serving, but 4 pounds of bone-in ribs may be substituted.
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 oz. pancetta, coarsely chopped*
2 lb. trimmed boneless beef short ribs or 4 lb. bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 1 ½-in. pieces, patted dry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 large onions, halved, thinly sliced (3 cups)
1 (8-oz.) pkg. sliced button mushrooms
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise**
1 1/2 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1 (12-oz.) bottle dark beer, preferably porter or stout (1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook pancetta 3 to 4 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to medium Dutch oven; reserve skillet.
2. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat reserved skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook beef, in batches, 5 minutes or until browned on all sides, turning frequently; place in Dutch oven.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to skillet. Cook onions over medium-low heat 10 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Place in Dutch oven. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to skillet. Cook mushrooms over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until juices are released, stirring occasionally. Place mushrooms in medium bowl.
4. Meanwhile, prepare spice packet by placing bay leaves, cinnamon stick and star anise in square of cheesecloth; tie securely with kitchen twine. Add broth to skillet; bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of skillet. Pour over beef mixture. Add beer to Dutch oven; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in spice packet; cover.
5. Reduce heat to low; simmer 1 1/2 hours, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a bare simmer. Stir in mushrooms. Cook, covered, an additional 30 to 60 minutes or until beef is fork-tender.*** Remove and discard spice packet. (Beef can be prepared to this point 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
6. Remove and discard any fat; strain beef mixture through strainer or colander set over large bowl. Return liquid to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally. Whisk in mustard; stir in beef mixture. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
4 (1 1/4-cup) servings
PER SERVING: 515 calories, 35.5 g total fat (11.5 g saturated fat), 36.5 g protein, 9.5 g carbohydrate, 120 mg cholesterol, 805 mg sodium, 1.5 g fiber
TIPS * Pancetta is an unsmoked rolled Italian bacon that’s cured with salt and spices.
**Star anise is a spice that comes in a whole pod shaped like a star. Its slight licorice flavor is similar to anise seed. It's commonly used in Asian cooking and baked goods for flavoring. It can be found in the spice aisle of supermarkets or Asian markets.
***Beef can also be cooked, covered, in 250ºF. oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.