Short Rib Ragu

By • December 31, 2010 • 204 Comments

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Author Notes: Let's be honest -- short ribs are great in any incarnation. I wanted to use them in a ragu that had a little more oomph than the typical braise so I went into umami overdrive with porcini mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce and anchovy paste. It's great over polenta or pasta, but maybe even better as leftovers in a po-boy. - Minimally Invasive Minimally Invasive

Food52 Review: This is a hearty, earthy ragu that we’re confident would be just as satisfying over pasta as it is over polenta. The mushrooms, which get pureed with the rest of the sauce once the short ribs are fall-apart-tender, make the liquid cloaking the shredded short ribs nice and meaty, and the wine, anchovy, tomato paste and mustard make it sing. Gremolata is an nice, bright touch at the end. On a frosty winter evening, this would be perfect with a big, green salad and the other half of that bottle of red wine. – A&MThe Editors

Serves 8-10

Short Rib Ragu

  • 5-6 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat, lard or oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1/2 bottle big red wine
  • 14 ounces fire-roasted whole tomatoes and juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • chicken stock or water
  • gremolata, recipe follows
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water.
  2. Season ribs well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pot (I used a 5-qt. enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering. Brown ribs in batches for 2-3 minutes per side, then set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of accumulated fat from pot, then sauté onion, carrots and celery until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  3. Create a hot spot in the pot by moving vegetables aside and leaving about a 3-inch radius bare. Add tomato paste and anchovy paste to the hot spot and stir vigorously until caramelized, then stir into the vegetables. Add red wine to deglaze and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms and soaking liquid (minus the last 1/4 inch to keep sediment out of your dish), plus herbs.
  4. Add ribs to pot and fill with chicken stock or water until ribs are nearly covered. Bring liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and braise in oven for at least 3 hours or until ribs are fall-apart tender.
  5. Remove ribs from liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove bay leaves and discard. While ribs cool, purée the braising liquid with an immersion blender until thick and set over medium-low heat to reduce if the sauce seems thin. When ribs have cooled down, discard bones and large pieces of fat, then shred the beef and return it to the pot. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, skimming any large pools of fat from the surface.
  6. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove additional fat from the surface before reheating. Serve over polenta, sprinkled with gremolata.

Gremolata

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large lemon, zest only
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Mix ingredients in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.
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Tags: Italian, savory

Comments (204) Questions (15)

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9 days ago Nicole Fortenberry

My family loved this dish. Made it on Friday, but didn't serve until Sunday and the flavors were rich and awesome. p.s. I baked the sinewy parts from the ribs in the oven until crunchy - voila, a perfect doggy treat! The whole family ate well!

Minimallyinvasive

9 days ago Minimally Invasive

So glad your family enjoyed this, Nicole! I never thought to bake the sinewy bits for my dogs, but will try that next time — they'll think they've died and gone to heaven! lol

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about 1 month ago Lindsey López

Also, is beef broth better than chicken broth for this?

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about 1 month ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I have made this a gazillion times b/c it is so awesome, and I think beef broth is better. The dish will be good tonight but even better tmrw so make enough for leftovers! :)

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about 1 month ago Lindsey López

thanks so much! :)

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 month ago Minimally Invasive

Sorry, busy day yesterday! Thanks for weighing in, em-i-lis and for the awesome review. :) I hope it went well, Lindsey!

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about 1 month ago Lindsey López

Does this dish have to sit overnight? I'm just finding this recipe now and would like to serve it tonight for Valentines Family Meal. Not sure if I need to let it sit overnight or not! Help!

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 month ago Minimally Invasive

It doesn't have to sit overnight, but it's easier to remove fat from the surface if you have the opportunity to chill it for a while before blending the sauce. Hope you enjoy the recipe and Happy Valentine's Day!

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about 1 month ago krystine

Wow! This turned out perfect. Great recipe.

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2 months ago roberta

I can't wait to try this recipe. Can you tell me if the flavor would be altered too much if I leave out the mushrooms?

Minimallyinvasive

2 months ago Minimally Invasive

Hi Roberta - I'm sure the flavor would be fine without mushrooms. Braises are pretty forgiving!

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2 months ago VVV03

I'm going to be the lone dissenter on this one. I'm just finishing this one off and it's good, but for me, really not worth the effort. 20+ ingredients, multiple steps, hours of cooking and an overnight wait? There are plenty of amazing short rib recipes that deliver the same (or better) bottom line with much less effort. Here's the disclaimer -- I'm all about maximum cooking for minimum effort. If you happen to groove to multi-step, multiple ingredient cooking, this is worth the time. But if you believe in the theory of diminishing returns when it comes to cooking, I would suggest passing on this recipe.

Minimallyinvasive

2 months ago Minimally Invasive

Shame it didn't work out for you, VVV03. Could you share the recipes you love for short ribs? I have a batch in the freezer and always want to try something new.

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3 months ago bgavin

I am making this now (for the third time!). This time it is for my Bookgroup, that meets tomorrow night. Agree that chilling overnight, de-fatting and then blending is the way to go.

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3 months ago Pam

This was delicious. The gremolata really added a taster finish. We served on masked yellow potatoes. Perfect winter dish. Thank you!!

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3 months ago Sheena Howell

I made this stew last night for my Christmas party last night and it was amazing! The instructions were so easy to follow and were explained so well. It was solo tasty and turned out exactly as I expected. The only alteration I had to make was adding about 1 cup of chicken stock to the dish after I broiled it for 3 hours in the oven. The stew was a little too dry but once I added in the chicken stock it was perfect and such an easy modification to make. Thanks for a fantastic recipe.

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9 months ago angerawrrr

Hey there, would it be possible to braise on the stove top? I'm assuming that it'll be fine, but wanted to double check :)

Minimallyinvasive

9 months ago Minimally Invasive

Heya, I think it'd be fine. Just make sure to keep the flame low and check every now and then to make sure the bottom isn't scorching. Good luck to you!

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9 months ago sevenfaces

This is a fantastic recipe! Such a big flavour to come from such simple ingredients. I blended the vegetables into a coarse paste before sauteeing, so I didn't blend the sauce when it came out of the oven - very pleasingly chunky result. I devoured this with pappardelle, can't wait to scoop up leftovers into a hearty po' boy :)

Minimallyinvasive

9 months ago Minimally Invasive

What a great idea to pre-purée the vegetables! I'm going to try that the next time I make this, probably six months from now. Enjoy that po-boy. :)

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10 months ago littlesister

I just made a somewhat-bastardized version of this and it was still delicious! I had planned to follow it pretty closely, but when the short ribs I was going to use ended up being less-than-fresh, I went on without them and it ended up being a great vegetarian ragu. I didn't even use porcini - just baby bella mushrooms but I think that was the only substitution. The gremolata was awesome, don't skip that part if you're making this. Great dish, now can't wait to try it with the meat!

Minimallyinvasive

10 months ago Minimally Invasive

Wow, I love this — thank you for sharing with us! I'm always trying to make vegetarian versions of dishes, but it never would have occurred to me to try with something so meat-centric. :)

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about 1 year ago Whites5

These are in the oven right now. Didn't understand what it meant to "carmelize" the tomato and anchovy pastes. Any advice?

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

Hi, it's a little late for you this time around, but just create a bare spot in the pan by pushing aside the vegetables and cook the tomato and anchovy pastes there (stirring them around so they don't scorch) until the tomato paste darkens.

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about 1 year ago Jack

I just finished making this fantastic ragu. I didn't have dried porcini mushrooms but I did have dried chanterelle mushrooms. They were wonderful. Thanks for this recipe. I'll be making it again.

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

Oh, dried chanterelles are wonderful and I'm sure they elevated this dish well beyond the original. So happy you enjoyed it!

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about 1 year ago martacamer

Hi there! I made the ribs last night exactly to the recipe and I can tell you the aroma in the house was delicious! I have 2 questions: I left the braise in the oven for 4 hours at 350, the ribs still have quite a bit of liquid, but wondering if maybe I cooked them for too long and if I should add more broth when I reheat.
For the OVEN POLENTA: do I cover the dish while cooking in the oven or leave it uncovered? If so, would a pyrex rectangular dish work? Thanks for the recipes! Serving tonight for guests!!

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about 1 year ago JLP1984

I used a glass dish for my oven polenta and it worked fine! Not sure on the liquid but the flavour is really rich so you don't want to mute that. :)

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

Hi, sorry I'm just getting to this! Depending on the pot I use, I'll have more or less liquid left when the ribs are cooked through, so I just cook the liquid down a bit on its own if necessary. I'm afraid I can't help with the oven polenta, though; I either make it on the stovetop or in my rice cooker. I hope it all worked out for you!

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about 1 year ago Shrinkrap

Any thoughts about using preserved lemon rather than fresh lemon peel for the gremolata? I have everything else on hand.

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

I've used preserved lemon peel for other gremolatas, but not for this one. I'm sure it would be fine, just not quite as "bright" as it would be using fresh.

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about 1 year ago Shrinkrap

Thanks!

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about 1 year ago Nicole

I just popped this in the oven and it smells fantastic. I wasn't sure when the tomat/anchovy paste was carmelized. After a blustery winter day, I'm looking forward to sitting down to this comforting meal with my honey tomorrow on Valentines Day. I just need to prep the gremolata, boil some pappardelle, and pull together a nice green salad... and I'm thinking about those brown butter brownies that keep popping up on food 52.

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about 1 year ago Alexandra

funny, i'm having the same v-day dinner as you, brownies and all! what a perfect meal :)

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

Two votes for those brownies, huh? I may have to indulge!

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about 1 year ago Gilda Barco-Pritchard

I am very happy for you!! I can imagine what your kitchen smells like!!!DELICIOUS!! Can we come over?? (it is one my husband's favorite meal) Enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day!

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about 1 year ago Benny

I've been meaning to make this for a looooong time. And now it's finally in the oven! Can't wait to finish it off and try it ;)

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

Oh, this is the PERFECT day for it. Hope you enjoyed!

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about 1 year ago DeeDee

Has anyone tried serving this over gnocchi?

Minimallyinvasive

about 1 year ago Minimally Invasive

I haven't, because my attempts at a gluten-free version have been disastrous, but I'll bet it would be good. :)

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about 1 year ago DeeDee

It's confirmed, the gnocchi pairing is perfect! Sophisticated meat & potatoes, if you will - for me & my partner that's the perfect Valentine's Day compromise. :)
Thank you for sharing this recipe. The caramelized tomato paste & anchovy were brilliant- the depth of flavour in this dish is simply incredible.