Pairing: Short ribs with Russian River zinfandel

Our Wine of the Week, Novy Family Winery 2013 Russian River Valley Zinfandel ($23), is a kick-up-your-heels sort of quaffer, with exuberant acidity, its signal quality. Sip after sip, the wine’s natural brightness ferries its flavor over your palate, with bursts of red raspberry, black raspberry, black plum, ripe cherries and licorice root. Hints of sage, dried wild thyme and black pepper punctuate the fruit with an alluring spiciness that lingers on the wine’s long, silky finish.

At the table, you’ll enjoy the wine with roasted root vegetables, including winter squash; with slow-cooked tomato sauces with pasta or polenta, and with shell beans and earthy grains like farro, kasha and barley. It is a natural alongside duck, slow-cooked beef and pork and venison. You’ll enjoy it with chicken teriyaki, too, if you use thighs, and with many risottos, such as pumpkin and sage risotto; risotto with chicken livers and Marsala, and bacon and red-wine risotto.

For today’s recipe, I’m returning to a fall favorite, braised short ribs with layers of flavor from both spices and a robust and tangy barbecue sauce. Leftover ribs make great sandwiches; just be sure to reheat the ribs and the sauce before building the sandwich.

Smoky Short Ribs with ?Apple Cider Vinegar Sauce

Serves 4

2½-3 pounds short ribs, about 2 inches thick

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika

2 teaspoons hot Spanish paprika

- Grated zest of 1 lemon

- Apple Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, cut into small dice

2 cups dry red wine

½ cup soy sauce

6 green onions, trimmed and cut into thin rounds

Put the ribs into a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, paprikas and lemon zest over the ribs and use your hands to gently turn and rub the ribs until they are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Make the barbecue sauce and set it aside.

To cook the ribs, pour the olive oil into a heavy pot, set over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté until limp and fragrant. Push the onions to the edge of the pan, increase the heat to high and brown the ribs all over.

Add the wine and soy sauce, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan and set simmer very slowly until the meat is fork tender, about 2½ to 3 hours.

To serve, transfer the ribs to a platter, use a pastry brush to slather juices onto the meat from the braising liquid, then coat them in barbecue sauce.

Scatter green onions over the meat and serve right away.

Apple Cider Vinegar Sauce

Makes about 11/2 to 2 cups

3 cups apple cider vinegar

- Grated zest of 6 lemons

- Juice of 6 lemons, strained

3 cups, packed, brown sugar

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2-3 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup

Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepan set over high heat and reduce by half, to just 11/2 cups. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir in the sugar and pepper and simmer over low heat until the mixture is thick and rich; stir now and then.

Stir in the tomato paste or ketchup, which will add a bit of body to the sauce.

Remove from the heat; cool and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

The sauce will keep for a week or two. Reheat before using.

Email Michele Anna Jordan at You’ll find her blog, “Eat This Now,” at

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