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Braised Short Rib Stew with Dark Rye Drop Biscuits

Braised in red wine and packed with root vegetables, this flavorful Braised Short Rib Stew is topped with dark rye biscuits for a perfectly spooky Halloween dinner!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, dinner, fantasy, fictional food, halloween, larp, rye, stew
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Braising Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 pounds short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon dark rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground coffee
  • 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup red wine, divided
  • 1 pound mushrooms, halved
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, stems removed
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ pound parsnips, cubed
  • 1 pound purple potatoes, cubed
  • 3 cups beef broth

Dark Rye Drop Biscuits

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark rye flour
  • 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, grated
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon molasses


Braise the short ribs:

  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees F and pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Pat the short ribs dry and roll them in the flour so that there is a thin, visible dusting. Whisk together the 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, coffee, and cocoa to make a dry rub, and coat the short ribs so that they are completely covered. Sear the beef on all sides in the dutch oven, working in batches if needed – about 5 minutes.
  • To braise the short ribs, spread them out evenly in the Dutch oven and add 2/3 of the red wine to create a thin layer of liquid at the bottom. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours, until the beef easily falls from the bone. Check occasionally – if the liquid cooks off, add a little more wine or broth so that there is always a thin layer of liquid at the bottom of the pot.

Make the stew:

  • Remove the short ribs from the dutch oven to a plate, and discard the bones and any excess gristle. With the burner on medium heat, add the remaining olive oil in the Dutch oven and sauté the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Add the fresh thyme, celery, carrots, and parsnips and sauté another 5 minutes. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the remaining 1/3 cup red wine, scrapping up all the brown bits. Add the meat, breaking it up with your spoon if needed. Add the beef broth, potatoes, and remaining salt and pepper and stir well.
  • Bring the stew to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the mixture cook and reduce uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Prepare the Drop Biscuits:

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients in one large bowl, and the buttermilk and molasses together in another. Add the grated butter to the dry ingredients and fold to combine. Make a well and pour in the wet ingredients. Fold everything together until well combined, leaving some of the butter in chunks.
  • Once the stew has reduced, drop golf-ball-sized rounds of dough around the perimeter of the dutch oven, leaving about an inch between (see note).
  • Bake uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes, until the biscuits have risen and are cooked through. Serve in bowls, with a biscuit on top of each.


Making Ahead: You can easily break up preparing this recipe by making the stew the day before. Braise the short ribs and prepare the stew, and then transfer the ingredients to a seal-able container and store in the fridge overnight. About forty minutes before you intend to serve, remove the stew from the fridge and transfer it to an oven-to-table dish (like the stoneware in my pictures). Top the stew with the drop biscuits and finish the dish as described above.

Presentation: As noted above and seen in the photos, I transferred my stew to a stoneware dish for prettier presentation before adding the drop biscuits, but you don’t have to if you want to limit your dirty dishes. You can go from start to finish in the same oven-safe pot if desired.

Storing & Reheating: While you can simply store in a casserole dish and microwave a portion of stew at a time, I recommend storing and baking the biscuits separately when reheating leftovers. This will keep the biscuits from getting too soggy, and overall it will be a better tasting meal.