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Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Wheat Berries

(recipe, Matthew Amster-Burton)

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  1. 3 to 4 lb. beef short ribs (flanken or English-style)
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  4. 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  5. 1 large onion, diced
  6. 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  7. 1 celery stalk, diced
  8. 1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
  9. 1 cup wheat berries (see Note)
  10. 1 bottle (12 ounces) porter beer, such as Anchor Porter
  11. 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  12. 4 cups chicken or beef stock
  13. 3 Tbsp. minced fresh herbs of your choice (set aside 1 Tbsp. for garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Season the ribs liberally with salt and pepper and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet (bone side down if you’re using English-style ribs). Roast 45 minutes or until they’re nicely browned. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees.
  3. While the ribs are roasting, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and leek. Cook until vegetables are limp but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the wheat berries, beer, tomatoes, chicken stock, and herbs, and stir to mix. Add the browned ribs, raise the heat to medium-high, and cover. When the pot is boiling, transfer it to the oven (you did remember to turn it down to 275, right?). Braise for 2½ to 3 hours, or until meat is very tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with reserved herbs, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate.


Wheat berries are available in the bulk section at any health-food store, although mine has managed to run out, so I've substituted pearl barley to good effect. There are hard and soft wheat berries; either will work. For another variation, substitute 1/2 cup French green lentils for half of the wheat berries. Read more in Matthew Amster-Burton's column on bulk foods.