If you prefer, omit the potatoes and serve the short ribs over polenta or rice. Adapted slightly from the original recipe in Lucinda Scala Quinn's Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, this serves 6-8.
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 leek, cleaned and diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium soy sauce)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
3-1/2 lb beef short ribs
2-3 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (optional)
Mix all ingredients except the meat and potatoes in a 9x15 inch roasting pan. Add the ribs, and rub all over with the marinade. The meat should fit comfortably in a single layer in the pan. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours, or up to overnight; turn the meat occasionally to expose all sides to the marinade.
Remove meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Braise the short ribs, uncovered, for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking for an additional 3 hours, turning the ribs once or twice and scraping up any of the sauce that sticks to the pan. Add the potatoes in the last 45 minutes of cooking. Add water to the pan if too much liquid evaporates; you want to end up with glistening ribs in a reduced glaze.
The ribs are done when the meat melts off the bone and you can eat them with just a fork.