12 Tastes of Christmas :: Athena’s Short Ribs

By Camille Styles
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs by Athena Calderone, photo by Chloe Crespi | Camille Styles

So thrilled to be kicking off another lineup of “12 Tastes of Christmas” — the annual series in which we ask our favorite foodies and tastemakers around the country to stop by and share what they’ll be serving on their holiday tables this season. We have so many great ones to inspire all kinds of culinary artistry throughout December, and I can’t imagine a better person to kickoff all the deliciousness than one of my fave foodie gals, Athena Calderone. This insanely stylish creator of the blog Eye Swoon (as well as uber-talented interior designer and mother to a darling son) always strikes that perfect balance between sophistication and approachability in everything she does, and these red wine braised short ribs are no exception. Take it away, Athena!

*photos by Chloe Crespi

Christmas is the one holiday I host in my home every year. As a tradition, I always make some sort of braised meat dish. Last year I prepared a braised pork ragu over paccheri pasta, but this year I’ll create a flavorful red wine braised beef shortribs.

It’s the perfect make ahead meal for larger gatherings – there’s something celebratory in the richness of the dish that punctuates Christmas for me. The short ribs can be braised up to 3 days ahead – in fact they are better after a few days when the flavors meld.

What really takes this particular recipe to a swoon-worthy level is the addition of kalamata black olives and a fresh shaving of orange zest and fresh horseradish to brighten up this decadent meal.

I served the ribs over a silky smooth puree of potatoes and celery root. I promise this plate of food is guaranteed to swoon adults and kids alike…even the pickiest of eaters will lick their plate clean!

Since this recipe is a show stopper and quite indulgent in it’s richness, I always prepare a light crisp & lemony winter salad as an appetizer.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Olives & Orange Zest

*adapted from Melissa Roberts’ recipe


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4.5 – 5 pounds short ribs (6 bone in ribs)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium red onions, diced
  • 2.5 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1.5 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 navel orange
  • Fresh horseradish

Short Ribs (cont.)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third. Stir together flour with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Lightly dredge in flour mixture – knock off excess.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown ribs on all sides in 2 batches, about 8 minutes per batch. Discard fat from pot.
  3. Cook onions, carrots, and celery in remaining 2 tablespoons oil with 3/4 teaspoon salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and herbs and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened and fragrant, 2 minutes.
  5. Add wine and boil until reduced by half, about 8 minutes, then stir in broth, tomatoes with juice, and vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  6. Return ribs to pot. Cover with the lid, then place in oven, and braise until ribs are fork-tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  7. Transfer ribs to a bowl. Let cooking liquid stand briefly, then skim fat from top. Stir in olives. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  8. Return meat to pot. Grate zest from orange and a small touch of horseradish zest over top just before serving.

Potato & Celery Root Purée

*adapted from Bon Appétit


  • 1 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

Place celery root and potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with water; salt lightly. Boil until very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain vegetables, reserving 1/4 cup liquid. Add vegetables to a kitchen aid or bowl with hand mixer. Add cream and butter and mix on high speed until silky smooth. Add cooking liquid if mixture become to thick. Season salt and pepper.

Well I’m certainly swooning… you? Thanks so much for stopping by, Athena! Can’t wait to give your short ribs a whirl this holiday season!

photos by Chloe Crespi

Comments (9)

  1. MirrorKate says:

    Thanks for this amazing post, Athena and Camille! Athena’s kitchen has been a design inspiration to me since Cristina featured it in her “Bring It Home” column. It’s wonderful to see more photos of this gorgeous space, complete with delicious food!

  2. Valerie C (@valerielily) says:

    had dinner but am definitely hungry all over again. great tips!

    xo, lily on fillmore | SWELL giveaway

  3. sally says:

    Would it be totally weird to ask where that dress is from? I need it!

    1. Athena calderone says:

      Hi Sally! The dress is Zara and they currently have it on Such a dress!

  4. Mrs.S says:

    Looks amazing! How many does it serve? I’ve never made short rib, but I must try this on my family!

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