Slow Cooker German-Inspired Short Ribs

updated Jan 24, 2020
Slow Cooker German-Inspired Short Ribs

These German-inspired short ribs are made with a vegetable-heavy gravy that includes a combo of tomatoes, zingy sauerkraut, and applesauce, which adds just a hint of sweetness.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook6 hours to 8 hours

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Credit: Shauna Sever

I typically plan for one slow cooker meal per week, when I know I’ll be writing or recipe testing all day and won’t even want to think about dinner when the time comes, or a day when we might all be getting home at different times. You can never go wrong with short ribs in a slow cooker, and this one is one of my favorites. It’s a German-inspired dish with a vegetable-heavy gravy, made with a combo of tomatoes, zingy sauerkraut, and applesauce, which is my secret ingredient for just a hint of sweetness — it helps to balance the notoriously rich meat.

Depending on what kind of comfort we’re needing that day, I’ll serve this with mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Or if I’m wanting something lighter, I’ll have it with simple steamed greens or a very Midwestern creamy cucumber salad with a yogurt-based dressing, which my kids love.

Slow Cooker German-Inspired Short Ribs

These German-inspired short ribs are made with a vegetable-heavy gravy that includes a combo of tomatoes, zingy sauerkraut, and applesauce, which adds just a hint of sweetness.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 6 hours to 8 hours

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    small onion

  • 1 (15 to 16-ounce) jar or package

    sauerkraut

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 3 pounds

    bone-in, English-cut beef short ribs

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon

    tomato paste

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    diced tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups

    unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    packed dark brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Halve and thinly slice 1 small onion. Drain (15 to 16-ounce) jar or package sauerkraut.

  2. Season 3 pounds short ribs with kosher salt and black pepper. Add 1/3 cup all-purpose flour to a large zip-top bag. In two or three batches, add the short ribs to the bag and shake to coat evenly, dusting off the excess.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in two batches, sear the short ribs on all sides to a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes per batch. As the short ribs are browned, transfer them to a 5-quart or larger slow cooker.

  4. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pot and sauté until lightly golden brown and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the drained sauerkraut, 1 can diced tomatoes and their juices, 1 1/2 cups applesauce, and 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Pour over the short ribs.

  5. Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the meat is falling off the bone, 6 to 8 hours. Serve straight up, over sautéed greens, or with a pile of mashed potatoes or cooked noodles.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.