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Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions

ACE Grilled Cheese 1

I feel like I’ve been slingshot (can that be used as a verb?) straight into mid January, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a grilled cheese sandwich.

I’ve decided that if I’m going to eat bread, it might as well be truly fantastic – and preferably used to bookend other divine ingredients, bound together by melty cheese. There are few things I love more than a grilled cheese sandwich, but too often everything gets ignored but the cheese.

Grilled cheese Collage

Let’s start with the bread, shall we? This is a roasted garlic oval from ACE Bakery, with sweet, mellow roasted garlic right in the dough. It’s a good size – with enough structural integrity and a crisp crust. I used my friend Jessica’s trick – to mix grated Parmesan cheese into soft butter to spread on the outside of each slice, which creates an extra crunchy, cheesy exterior, maximizing those crispy edges.

Garlic bread 2

Inside – aged cheddar is my favourite, and I had some old orange and extra old white in the fridge, so I used both. Grated, it easily covers any surface area, and melts more quickly. And a spoonful of caramelized onions – it could be a batch of onion jam, or just chop or blitz an onion or two in the food processor, then saute it on the stovetop in a little oil and a little butter for 10 minutes, or until it all turns nice and dark and golden and sticky. I usually can’t help a quick splash of balsamic vinegar in there too, and a pinch of sugar if you want to help things along.

Grilled cheese 1

And that would be enough to make me happy, right there. But I’ve been braising plenty of beef or bison short ribs lately for some reason or other, which reminded me of how delicious bits of leftover short ribs are in a grilled cheese, and so I braised a batch just for this occasion. (The occasion being making them on Global on Saturday morning.)

Grilled cheese 2

You don’t need a lot of the beef; pulled off the bone, it’s so rich and intense – more the essence of beef than thinly sliced roast from the deli – a few chunks elevates this sandwich to the truly sublime.

ACE Grilled Cheese 2

Add woolly socks + a good book (or Downton Abbey on Netflix!) to get through a January weekend.

Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions

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January 12, 2014


Short Ribs:

canola oil, for cooking

4-6 bison or beef short ribs

salt & pepper

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 cup red wine or beer

1 cup beef or chicken stock (or more wine)

Caramelized Onions:

2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)

2 tsp. brown sugar

salt and pepper

grated aged white cheddar

a good loaf

soft butter or olive oil, for cooking

grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


1Heat a drizzle of oil in a small, heavy oven-proof pot set over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides; add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

2Pour the wine overtop, and add enough stock to come about halfway up the sides of the ribs. Cover and cook at 300F for 2 1/2-3 hours, until the meat is very tender. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones and set aside. Meanwhile, set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add a generous drizzle of oil and cook the onions for 10 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the balsamic vinegar (if you’re using it) and cook for a minute, until it evaporates; add the brown sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 5-8 minutes, until deep golden. Set aside to cool.

3To assemble your grilled cheese sandwiches, slice the roasted garlic oval on a slight diagonal and layer with grated cheddar, caramelized onions, short rib and more cheddar. If you like, stir some grated Parmesan cheese into soft butter and spread on the outside of the sandwich; alternatively, brush with olive oil. Grill in a panini grill or in a hot skillet, turning as needed, until the cheese has melted and the sandwich is crusty and golden.

4Makes as many as you’d like.


About Julie

12 comments on “Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions

  1. Lindsay
    January 13, 2014 at 12:52 am

    This..I can’t…mush. My brain is mush. How has this thing of glory not been made until now?

  2. Alicen
    January 13, 2014 at 6:03 am

    We’ve been thinking the same things. I had a grilled cheese on Friday with swiss cheese, caramelized onions & mushrooms, and leftover moose roast. It was fantastic!
    I do need to try mixing parmesan with the butter for the bread though… that sounds amazing!

  3. Mia
    January 13, 2014 at 8:35 am

    The roasted garlic oval is one of my favourite things on earth. When I see a loaf still waiting for me at my local Co-op bakery, I get soooo excited! I will def try the parma/butter combo on my next grilled cheese endevour.

  4. Heather
    January 13, 2014 at 9:37 am

    It is Monday morning and I stuffed myself all weekend long….yet the site of this post made me drool and immediately crave a grilled cheese as yummy looking as this!!

  5. Julie
    January 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Seriously… if you’re going to eat grilled cheese, you may as well EAT GRILLED CHEESE!

  6. luisa
    January 14, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Honestly, my butt just got bigger from reading the title of the post. Thanks a lot!!!!

  7. Kristin
    January 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

    This looks so amazing that I’m suddenly starving. I can’t wait to try this out!

  8. Laurie from Richmond
    January 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Ooohhh yum! I’ve got the garlic loaf, and old cheeses – all I need is to caramelise the onions. I’ve got some old roast pork, which I’ll throw in with the onions. OH yum!
    Going to make lunch, now

  9. Silvi
    January 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Parm butter…amazing! This is great for cold days….any day really. Thanks!

  10. Jeff
    January 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Just made this tonight (with a side of the kale salad) and it was AWESOME!

  11. Sam
    January 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    These ribs were amazing! I used lamb ribs and they were so good on this stormy day. Thank you!

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