How to Prepare Beef Short Ribs in a Romertopf


Romertopf clay pots are available in several sizes, ranging in capacity from five pounds to 17 pounds, and have various features that facilitate cooking specific foods, such as the fish baker. The food preparation for cooking short ribs in a Romertopf is the same as when using a baking dish, with a few key exceptions. They must be soaked in water before each use, the cooking temperature called for in a recipe must be increased by 105 degrees F, and they must be brought up to temperature in tandem with the oven.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 trimmed beef short ribs
  • 1 small fennel bulb, diced
  • 5 celery stalks, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed with the broad side of a knife
  • 18 oz. dark stout ale
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • Cheesecloth
  • Place 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 whole clove
  • 6 parsley stems
  • Wooden trivet or oven pads
  • Nylon scrubbing pad
  • Soak the Romertopf pot and lid in warm water (100 degrees F to 110 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes if using for the first time; 15 minutes if previously used.

  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan over high heat for three minutes. Season the short ribs to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • Sear the short ribs for two minutes on each side and set them aside. Searing them prior to cooking them in the Romertopf caramelizes the exterior and gives them a golden-brown color, an effect unattainable in a covered clay baker.

  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat for three minutes. Add one small diced fennel bulb, 3 cups diced celery, 1 cup chopped carrots and one large diced onion to the pan, and cook until the onions turn translucent, which will take approximately 15 minutes. Add three crushed garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, approximately two minutes. Add 18 oz. of dark stout ale and 2 tbsp. tomato paste and bring to a boil. Bring to a boil and reduce volume by half.

  • Place a piece of cheesecloth measuring 6 inches by 6 inches on a table. Place four black peppercorns, one fresh thyme sprig, one whole clove and six parsley stems in the center of the cheesecloth. Bring the corners together and secure with kitchen twine.

  • Add the contents of the sauce pot to the Romertopf. Place the short ribs on top of the vegetables and place the sachet d'epices (spices wrapped in cheesecloth) in the cooking liquid. Place the lid on the Romertopf and place it on the center rack in the oven.

  • Heat the oven to 405 degrees F. Braise the short ribs for 2 1/2 hours, or until fork tender. Place a wooden trivet or oven pads on the table to place the clay pot when removed from the oven.

  • Remove the Romertopf from the oven, exercising caution, and place it on the trivet or oven pads. Remove the lid, the short ribs and the vegetables from the pot and serve as intended. Allow the Romertopf to cool to room temperature.

  • Submerge the Romertopf in cool water and clean using a nylon scrubbing pad. Add 2 tbsp. baking soda per gallon of water to facilitate cleaning. Soak overnight if necessary. Allow the lid and clay pot to cool separately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Abrupt temperature changes clay pots, such as the Romertopf, to crack.
  • Always allow the clay pot to come up in temperature in tandem with the oven
  • Always place the Romertopf on a wooden trivet or baking pads upon removal from the oven.
  • Do not use soap or detergent when cleaning clay bakers.

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