Insalata’s Spanish-Style Short Ribs with Bitter Chocolate, Sherry and Orange

This recipe comes from Heidi Krahling of Insalata’s restaurant in San Anselmo, CA. It is the most popular dish served and is frequently a special. Heidi’s food is wonderful.


  • 5 to 5-1/2 lb. short ribs of beef (2 -1/2″ wide, 3 bones down, cut between bones to equal 3 pieces per rib)
  • 2 med. yellow onions, chunked
  • 1 carrot, chunked
  • 1 rib of celery, chunked
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 small can plum tomatoes, chunked
  • 12 cups good quality beef stock (preferably homemade)
  • 3 TB unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 TB fresh thyme
  • 1/2 TB fresh chopped marjoram
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 TB butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously salt and pepper ribs. In heavy duty casserole, brown short ribs in a little olive oil. Remove. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic to casserole. Saute until well carmelized. Add red wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, and thyme. Mix to combine. Add ribs and stock to the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and place in 300 degree oven for approx. 3 hrs., or until meat pulls easily away from the bone. Remove meat from jus, strain jus. Place jus back into casserole pan. Add 2 cups dry sherry and reduce by 1/3.

To the reduced sauce add 3 TB unsweetened chocolate, 1 TB fresh thyme, 1/2 TB fresh chopped marjoram, zest of 2 oranges, 2 TB butter, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer with ribs for 2 minutes to marry the flavors. Serve with your favorite potatoes and gremolata if so desired.