Short Rib Ragu

By • December 31, 2010 • 188 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&MA&M

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.
Jump to Comments (188)

Tags: Italian, savory

Comments (188) Questions (14)

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4 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

4 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!

Wrong_apple

4 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

4 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. :)

Dsc_0035

5 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

5 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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7 months 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

7 months 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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8 months 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

8 months 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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8 months 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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8 months 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

8 months 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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8 months ago Shrinkrap

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

Minimallyinvasive

8 months 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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8 months ago Shrinkrap

Thanks!

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8 months 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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8 months ago Alexandra

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

Minimallyinvasive

8 months ago Minimally Invasive

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

476

8 months 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!

Food52

8 months 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

8 months ago Minimally Invasive

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

Ice-cream-says-ok-470

9 months ago DeeDee

Has anyone tried serving this over gnocchi?

Minimallyinvasive

9 months 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. :)

Ice-cream-says-ok-470

8 months 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.

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9 months ago gumgum5

I made this last winter, we absolutely loved it! Since then, I have tried 2 other short rib recipes (even a Dorie Greenspan recipe) and I have to say this one is still our favorite! It is also a really good one to try if you are a short rib novice.

Minimallyinvasive

9 months ago Minimally Invasive

Wow, that's high praise! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know; I really appreciate it. Hope you're keeping warm this winter!

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9 months ago JLP1984

This dish is wonderful. Great flavours and so comforting. I made sure to purée the sauce after it had chilled to avoid excess fat as per other comments. The gremolata is key to brightening this rich dish. I also am happy to report the oven cooked polenta as per another comment was great, simple and creamy. Thanks god a great recipe. It's a winter classic for sure!!

Minimallyinvasive

9 months ago Minimally Invasive

I'm so glad you read the comments before blending the sauce! Gremolata really punches up so many savory, rich dishes, doesn't it?

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9 months ago Magda Reichenberg

Delicious - I got the short rib boneless - cooked them till they fell apart 4hrs as directed - the only item i changed was the tomato paste, did not have, replaced it with tomato sauce. was a hit

Minimallyinvasive

9 months ago Minimally Invasive

One thing I love about braises is that they're so adaptable. No tomato paste, no worries!

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9 months ago allison969

This most definitely my next new short rib recipe to try. Just made Dan Barber's and though it was very good, it was a little too sweet 'n sour-y for my tastes. This sounds completely savory and complex enough to make it interesting. Can't wait to test it out.

Minimallyinvasive

9 months ago Minimally Invasive

Oooh, sweet & sour sounds excellent. I'll have to give Dan Barber's recipe a try next time around!

Stringio

9 months ago Maggie Vaughn Helseth

I served this for a small dinner party tonight, and it was one of the best things I've eaten/made in recent memory. What a phenomenal recipe, and how gratifying to serve it to friends.

Minimallyinvasive

9 months ago Minimally Invasive

Maggie, I'm so happy you enjoyed and your friends enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me know!

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10 months ago SaucyCuisine

This looks delicious. Thanks for the tips.

Stringio

11 months ago Jodi Spragins

A little disappointing. Greasy....it smelled heavenly while cooking, but the final product, meh. The fat got emulsified when I puréed the sauce, and impossible to separate, even after overnight refrigerating. I would definitely recommend not pureeing until the sauce has been refrigerated, separately from the meat. I think the presentation might be more interesting without pureeing...it looked a little sloppy joe- ish to me.

Minimallyinvasive

11 months ago Minimally Invasive

I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. I've started blending the sauce after a night in the fridge for just the reason you mentioned here. Have tried to update the recipe to that effect, but the system won't allow it.

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10 months ago bgavin

Making this again today (for tomorrow) and will remember to wait to purée.

Stringio

8 months ago Sophia Witheringhop

If you are cooling overnight, but pureeing the next day, do you remove the ribs & shred the meat still the night before? Or do you leave the ribs whole in the sauce until the next day, skim the fat, then whilst the sauce is pureeing take the meat off the bone & shred it? I'm worried that if I de-bone the meat the night before it will dry out, but if I do it the next day the meat will have become too tough overnight in the fridge to de-bone and shred - help!

Minimallyinvasive

8 months ago Minimally Invasive

Hi Sophia - I usually leave the ribs whole in the sauce overnight, skim the fat from the top the next day and warm it through till the meat is shreddable and proceed from there. Hope this helps!

Stringio

8 months ago Sophia Witheringhop

Perfect, thanks!

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11 months ago maya

This was absolutely fantastic. I had to use pork spareribs but Oh My was it good.

Minimallyinvasive

11 months ago Minimally Invasive

Oooh, what a great idea to use pork! I'll give that a go the next time I make this.

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11 months ago Gilda Barco-Pritchard

Hi Jenny, yes the sauce comes out that color. I think it has something to do with the mushrooms too. Don't worry about no fat to skim..the ribs and the sauce will have plenty of flavor all together. As for the presentation, when you garnish the dish with the fresh Gremolata it will look perfect! Enjoy your party!