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This famous French dish has always disappointed me. The sauce is not thick enough, it is too bland, but mostly it has been the meat – chuck steak is tasteless.

On the bone short ribs are quite another thing – buy the biggest, fattest, plumpest – allow 1lb each serving. Go heavy on the herbs and spices and use a good quality full bodied red wine.

The whole caboodle can be finished hours before the blonde or family arrives – then just warm it, sprinkle with some freshly chopped cilantro and serve with a robust salad.


  • 1 can (14 oz. for 4) diced tomatoes.
  • 1 cup thick homemade beef stock.
  • 2 cloves elephant garlic diced.
  • 1 yellow onion minced.
  • 1 large handful chopped fresh cilantro.
  • 1 large handful chopped fresh rosemary.
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange – or large spoon full my marmalade.
  • 1 finely chopped carrot
  • 1 finely chopped stick of celery.
  • 1 cup of robust red wine.
  • 4 lbs short ribs.
  • Flour for dusting the ribs.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt and black pepper.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 f.
  2. Mix first 11 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Dust ribs with flour and then brown well on all sides in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  4. Reserve the ribs in a casserole.
  5. Tip the tomato mixture into the pan and bring to the boil scraping the sides clean.
  6. Pour the hot mixture over the ribs, cover and bake for 2 ½ hours.
  7. Uncover, test for seasoning, degrease and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  8. Degrease again before serving*.


  • If you are cooking a lot as I do, refrigerate the grease in a container for later use – it will have a rich beefy taste. This is knock out for a full family dinner, just add a handful of new potatoes after 1 hour.