Short Rib Ragu

By • December 31, 2010 224 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.


  • 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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