Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in a large bowl. Add the rosemary, thyme, star anise, and cinnamon stick, then set aside.
Cut the ribs between the bones, and trim all the excess outer fat.
Season the ribs well with coarse salt, then dredge in flour until well coated.
In a large Dutch oven or wide soup pot, pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. On high heat, sear the ribs so they are browned well on all sides (about 3 minutes per side). Set aside.
In same pan, transfer all the vegetables from the bowl, and stir to caramelize and pick up all the brown bits.
Add the meat back into the pot. Pour the wine over. Ensure all is covered and if not, top up with water.
Sprinkle on the cocoa powder and add the brown sugar, bring to a boil, cover with a lid or foil, and place in the oven till meat is fork tender, about 3 hours.
Remove the ribs to a platter and strain out the solids to use for something else.
Boil the cooking liquid in a wide shallow pan till it is reduced by half. It will be richer, more flavorful and thicker. Add a nub of butter at the end for sheen and flavor.
Serve on a mound of garlic mashed potatoes, topped with green beans and poached vine tomatoes. Check out some of Chuck's recipes!