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Cocoa-Crusted Short Ribs with Red Wine Risotto

  • Author: Molly
  • Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


These Cocoa-Crusted Short Ribs with Red Wine Risotto is a show-stopping stunner of a meal. Succulent, fall-apart-tender beef is cooked in a cocoa and red wine sauce and served atop rich and creamy red wine risotto that is good enough to make you weak in the knees. This is a special occasion kind of dinner – and you won’t believe how delicious it is!



For the Short Ribs:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Risotto:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh parsley or chives, for serving


For the Short Ribs:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch or other oven-safe pot over high heat.
  2. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, chili powder, coriander, and then dredge the short ribs through the mixture to evenly and lightly coat, shaking off the excess. Do not discard the cocoa powder mixture – we’ll add some of it to the pot later on.
  3. Add the short ribs to the hot oil, in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, and cook until seared and golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Once all the ribs have been seared, set them aside on a plate.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Sauté until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it is deepened in color and evenly coating the onions in the pot.
  6. Stir in the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pot. Cook until the wine is mostly reduced, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Stir in the beef broth, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the cocoa powder mixture used for dredging the ribs, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs.
  8. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then return the short ribs to the pot, along with any juices that may have accumulated on the plate.
  9. Cover the pot and place it in the preheated oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is very tender and falling off the bones (actual cooking time will vary depending on the size of the short ribs and your oven. My short ribs were on the smaller side, so it took closer to 2 hours).
  10. Remove the pot from the oven and place it on the stovetop over medium heat. Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside while you finish the sauce.
  11. Whisk the cornstarch into ¼ cup of cold water. Set aside.
  12. Bring the cooking juices to a simmer. If fat accumulates on the surface, skim it off. After it has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes, stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook until thickened and glossy, about 2 minutes. Finally, stir in the butter until it is melted.
  13. Return the ribs to the pot and let them sit in the sauce until you are ready to serve.

For the Risotto:

  1. During the last half hour of the short ribs cooking the oven, start the risotto.
  2. Heat the chicken broth in a medium pot until it is hot but not simmering. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Once it is melted, add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes or until the onion is softened.
  3. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add in the rice and cook for about 2 minutes or until toasty and golden in spots.
  5. Stir in the wine, scraping up any bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and begin slowly stirring in the chicken broth in ½ cup increments. The idea is to slowly poach the rice in the hot broth and allow it to absorb it before adding more. This allows the rice to release its starch slowly and gradually, creating the soft and creamy texture of risotto. Add the broth, stir to combine, and then allow to cool for a few minutes before adding more. Keep stirring and continue this process until all the broth has been incorporated and the rice is cooked through and creamy. This process takes about 25 minutes. Don’t rush it!
  7. Add in the grated cheese and stir to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

To Serve:

  1. Ladle the red wine risotto into serving bowls (I love a wide, shallow bowl for this).
  2. Top each serving with a short rib (or two) and drizzle over some of the sauce.
  3. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives, along with another grating of parmesan cheese, and serve immediately while everything is hot.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Category: beef dishes

Keywords: cocoa crusted short ribs, cocoa red wine short ribs, red wine risotto, short ribs with red wine risotto