While this may seem labor intensive, the actual cooking is mostly unattended. You can even do the preparations in steps over several days to lessen the pain!
The Bouquet Garni
1 strip bacon
2 springs rosemary
4-6 sprigs thyme
2 Turkish bay leaves
2 celery stalks, trimmed of leaves
The Meat of It:
Short ribs, 1-2 per person (purchase the leanest you can find)
Freshly ground pepper
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1” pieces
15 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
6 large shallots, peeled and chopped
15 black peppercorns, cracked
4 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 bottles dry red wine, ex: Cabernet Sauvignon
4 cups Ruby Port
5 cups beef broth or stock
6 cups chicken broth or stock
5 large plum tomatoes or basket of cherry tomatoes
The Saucy Conclusion:
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 tsp. copped fresh thyme
It is important to get a pot large enough to hold all of these ingredients. A large Dutch oven or turkey roaster is suggested.
1. Preparing the Bouquet Garni (can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated) – Lay the bacon strip out. Lay the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and celery stalks atop one end of the bacon. Roll up the bacon and tie with kitchen string/twine.
2. Ribs (can also be done ahead of time and refrigerated) – Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven (or other oven proof pan large enough to hold the ingredients above) heat the vegetable oil until medium hot. Add as many ribs as will comfortably fit, and brown them evenly on all sides (about 10 minutes.) Remove the browned ribs to a plate, and then repeat this browning process with the remaining ribs. Remove all but about ½ cut of the fat from the pan.
3. Preparing the Pot (down to the wire now, this is to be done on the day you are preparing to serve) – Add to the Dutch oven the carrots, onions, garlic, shallots, and peppercorns. Cook, stirring often, until all are golden brown (about 10 minutes.) Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often (about 2 minutes.) Add the flour and stir until fully blended. Add that eagerly awaiting Bouquet Garni, the wine (is there any left?), and the port. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds (about 45 minutes.) Pat yourself on the back and proceed to Step 4.
4. Putting It All Together – Return the ribs to the pot. Add the beef stock/broth and tomatoes and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover the pot loosely with foil and place it in the oven. Bake for 3 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork. Enjoy a few hours of relaxation.