Beef short ribs with bootlegged Michigan cherries

Short ribs and cherries_edited-1 - Version 2

While we were in Michigan, we couldn’t stop buying cherries—a tic which continued even as we headed back to Kentucky. On our way down South we stopped at one last farmers’ market, buying up delicious fruit that we seldom find locally in the Bluegrass State. With a bag of ice in a cooler, the sacks of black cherries (the last of this year’s very late harvest) made it home safely, where they rested in the refrigerator until we could get to a market and score some short ribs.

Michelle created this dish while we were in the Wolverine State, with some lovely thick short ribs and dark, meaty fruit. We mentioned it in our vacation post, and were encouraged to recreate it. We did, and found it just as delicious as it was the first time (though we do wish our Kentucky farmers could somehow get short ribs as meaty and well-butchered as the ones we found up North). The ribs and cherries create a rich, meaty ragout, lively with thyme and rosemary and marvelous bursts of cherry flavor.

Unfortunately, the next time our craving for this dish sets in, we will probably have to make do with dried cherries.



  • Approximately 2 lbs. short ribs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 springs thyme
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 1-1/2 c. beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 or 3 sprigs parsley
  • Generous 1/2 c. black cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides in a bit of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Remove ribs from pan and place on a plate.

Sauté onion, carrot and celery, adding a bit more olive oil if needed. When vegetables are soft, add garlic, rosemary and thyme sprigs. Add flour and cook, stirring, until flour is incorporated and cooked off.

Add wine, stock and parsley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 2-3 hours over low heat until meat is soft and pulling away from the bones.

Remove meat from the pan and let cool.

Strain sauce, pushing solids through a sieve or colander with a wooden spoon. Discard remaining solids. Return sauce to pan. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add cherries, chopped rosemary and vinegar. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced and cherries are soft.

While sauce is cooking down, remove meat from bones and shred it. Discard sinew and fat.

Add meat shreds to sauce. Reheat, and serve on biscuits (recipe below).


(adapted from marthastewart.com)

  • 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon Maldon or kosher salt + more for topping
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper + more for topping
  • 6 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup + 1 TB buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400° F, with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, rosemary and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to combine.

Add butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to mix well.

Add 3/4 cup buttermilk (or a little more if needed) and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Knead a few times until flour is fully incorporated.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll or pat dough out to a 1″ thickness. Using a 2″ or 2-1/2″ cutter, cut out about 6 biscuits (re-rolling if necessary).

Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet. Brush remaining buttermilk on tops of biscuits and generously sprinkle salt and pepper over.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until browned and done in the middle.



    • Merci, Darya! I’m not sure if I’d ever had beef and cherries together before either. It was just the happy circumstance of seeing both beautiful short ribs and an abundance of cherries at the markets.

  1. Wow, I haven’t seen cherries used in savory cooking since the last Duckling Montmorency passed. Shortribs are one of our favorite dishes and this one is definitely going on the list, although I think I’d like to postpone it until the temperature drops below 80. But then again, no more cherries if I wait, right? Ken
    P.S. My mom always used to make biscuits when I was growing up in Michigan–I think because that’s what the other women in the neighborhood did.

    • I know… It does remind one of all those pork loins stuffed with dried fruit back in the ’70s, doesn’t it? But I’ve always loved fruit with meat. And we’ve been having lovely cool evenings here.

      Funny about the biscuits. Probably comes from all those Kentuckians who moved up there during the Depression. 😉

  2. You’ve put delicious things on biscuits before, but this looks wildly delicious. How lucky Michigan is to have such a long season with its extraordinary cherries!

  3. This looks like a fabulous holiday dinner. I’m going to tuck the recipe away. I think it would be fabulous with dried cherries as well, although somewhat different, I’m sure…

  4. This sounds wonderful, Michelle. It’s hard not to be inspired when you’re surrounded by so much fresh fruit — and you picked the perfect time to be in that part of the state. I’ve got beef cheeks and a load of tart cherries in my freezer. Hmmm ….
    Thanks, Michelle. 🙂

    • I still can’t get over how lucky we were that it had been a cool summer, so the cherries were late (or so everybody told us). Steve will be so jealous to hear that you have beef cheeks! They are so hard to find here because the farmers seem to sell them all to the restaurants.

  5. Love the look of this recipe Mich and that stunning little shortcake biscuit on top! Also got to love the description of bootlegged cherries. There’s a real playfulness in the titles of your delicious recipes, which makes them both appealing to read and to feast with the eyes!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: