Sunday, February 21, 2016

49. Short Rib Tacos with Marinated Red Peppers and Feta


I was picturing a brisket taco this time around, but it just didn't happen.  We went to our local grocery store to get the ingredients for this recipe, and they didn't have any brisket.  Fortunately, they did have short ribs.  Short ribs can be delicious.  They're rather fatty, but they can be great if most of that fat is cooked out of them!

I've been spoiled - the last few times I've made short ribs, I've been lucky enough to have grass-fed, local short ribs from southern Arizona.  Well.  I don't know where these came from.  I'm usually rather choosy about meat, but I decided to just go with it this time.

So . . . it worked out, but you do get what you pay for!  I'll go into that more later!

I decided to braise these short ribs in some beef broth and red wine - we have quite a bit of wine on hand these days.  A few months ago, I joined a wine-by-mail service called Tasting Room.  It's been pretty good so far.  I wouldn't call it top shelf wine, but it's great for most days, and it's definitely more interesting than the selections I can find at our local grocery store!  Here's a review of the initial tasting kit that I received if you're interested:

Anyway, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to use a cup of this tasty Shiraz:

The short ribs are cooked slowly, so the time frame from start to finish is significant.  However, each step is pretty easy and there is plenty of downtime during the process.

I thought that this amount of beef would make A LOT of tacos.  Well . . . there was a lot of fat involved, and once that was discarded, there was not as much meat as I thought.  This recipe would comfortably serve four, and maybe more than that if you have high-quality short ribs!

Here's the recipe:

Short Rib Tacos with Marinated Red Peppers and Feta

Serves 4 (about 12 small tacos)


For the short ribs:

About 3.5 lb. beef short ribs, seasoned generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 or 3 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
1/2 tsp. salt

For the red peppers:

2 red peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips

1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

A few ounces of feta cheese

12 small street-taco-size corn tortillas


1.  Start the short ribs:  Preheat the oven to 290 degrees.  Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy, oven-safe pot, such as a Dutch oven.  Add the short ribs (in batches) and brown on all sides.  It will probably take 15 to 20 minutes for both batches.  Transfer the short ribs to a plate and set aside.  Add the onion, carrots, and garlic to the pan, lower the heat to medium low, and cook the vegetables until they are soft and somewhat browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the cinnamon, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves.  Continue to cook and stir for another couple of minutes.  Add the tomato paste, beef stock, wine, and salt and bring to a simmer.

Add the short ribs, cover, and place in the oven.

Cook for approximately 2 1/2 hours (turning the short ribs every 30 minutes or so), or until the meat is extremely tender and falling off of the bone.

2.  While the beef is cooking, make the peppers:  Combine the sliced peppers, oil, vinegar, cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Set aside.

3.  Remove the short ribs from the oven.  Take off the lid and allow to rest for a few minutes while you heat the tortillas.

4.  Prepare the tortillas to your liking:  There are a few different ways you can do this.  When I am making tacos with soft corn tortillas, I heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  I place a large sheet of aluminum foil near the pan.  I heat each tortilla in the skillet for about a minute or so on each side, or until it softens and begins to brown.

After each one is done, I place it on the foil and immediately start the next one.  I stack them on top of one another as I work.  When I'm done with the whole batch, I wrap them completely in the foil and place them in a 250 degree oven until I'm ready to assemble the tacos.  They always stay hot and soft!  If there are leftovers, I heat fresh tortillas for the next meal.  

5. Transfer the short ribs to a plate and use a knife and fork (or a couple of forks) to separate the meat from the fat and shred into small pieces.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.  Skim the excess fat from the sauce left in the pan.  Blend the sauce with a hand blender until fairly smooth.  Return the short rib meat to the pan and toss to combine.  Keep warm on a burner set to low.

6.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  Spoon some of the short rib mixture down the center of the tortillas.  Top with some of the marinated peppers.  Finish with a generous sprinkle of feta cheese.  Enjoy!

Wow - these were so flavorful and rich!

Yes.  Rich.  About that . . . these short ribs were the fattiest ones I have ever worked with.  Oh my goodness!  O.O

However, once I skimmed all the fat off, I found that the meat was delicious!  Just be prepared - it all depends on the quality of the meat that you have.  I have used grass-fed, local short ribs that were much less fatty.  With this cut, there is always fat involved, but I have found that it can vary a lot!  I was a little disappointed at how much I had to throw away . . . ah, well!  That's what I get for not sticking to my guns in terms of my usual meat quality standards!

As I said earlier in this post, you get what you pay for!

We did love these, though!  As I type this post, I am currently transforming the leftover meat into a pasta sauce.  I have high hopes for it!  The combination of spices (cinnamon, cumin, oregano) is interesting and just unusual enough to catch a person's interest!

Another great thing about this recipe is that most of it can be prepared ahead of time.  That's always nice!  Honestly, this is one of those things that will improve with age!  Within reason, of course!  :)

My next recipe will be number 50!  I'm so excited!  What will it be???  Stay tuned and see . . .

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try them?  What did you think?

Thanks for reading!


  1. I want to eat these all day long!! The peppers mixture looks awesome!

  2. Oh, they were delicious! The peppers could go on anything! All day long might be a bit much, but . . . thanks for checking out my recipe! :)


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