Cast Iron

Short Rib Ragu

December 31, 2010
53 Ratings
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 4 hours
  • Serves 8-10
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Short Rib Ragu
  • For the short rib ragu
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 5 1/2 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 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 can fire-roasted whole tomatoes and juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or water (more or less as needed)
  • 1 recipe gremolata (as follows)
  • Gremolata
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons zest from one large lemon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. For the short rib ragu
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove additional fat from the surface before reheating. Serve over polenta, sprinkled with gremolata.
  8. Slow-cooker variation: After browning the meat, add it to a slow cooker, along with the rehydrated mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients, and cook on "low" for 8 hours.
  1. Gremolata
  2. Mix ingredients in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.
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300 Reviews

Dave February 22, 2024
I did like the recipe however I wonder if anyone has tried this with chuck. I'm not sure why but
at least in my part of the country short ribs have gotten stupid expensive. Like $15 a pound.

Jocelyn G. January 13, 2024
Fabulous. That is all.
Burchie December 26, 2023
Delicious! SO happy I waited to blend the ragu until I removed the hardened fat on day 2 because once I removed the fat/bones, it was very clear there was not enough meat for 8 adults. Surprised no one else had this issue because I started with the recommended 6 lbs of short ribs. Ran out and grabbed another roast to slow cook and add to the recipe which worked fine in the end. Also wish I had tripled the gremolata - not enough for 8 adults to each have a spoonful.
monkeyrump April 24, 2023
Made this and served it with homemade gnocchi. It was delicious. I will make this again and again!
Karen M. April 6, 2023
This is one of my favourite Food52 recipes. I use lamb blade chops and chunks of sweet potatoes with onions and chopped mushrooms. I use a braising pan in the oven for delicious results. We eat it the day I cook it and don’t purée the sauce. The combination of garlic, anchovies, tomato paste and mustard are so flavourful and I use them in other stews.
Minimally I. April 10, 2023
Oooh, I love the addition of sweet potatoes! I'll have to try that next time.
margaret March 15, 2021
OMG this was delicious! This was my first time braising meat of any kind. And despite the 80 degree weather outside in Florida ( had to crank up the AC) the smell alone was worth it!!! Didn't have bay leaves, and I used 1/2 a can of regular tomato sauce - but I had everything else. I did reduce the oven temperature after about an hour to 325, because the liquid was really bubbling away. We had the leftovers next with a baguette - so good. Thank so much for this recipe!
Minimally I. March 15, 2021
I'm so happy you enjoyed it, and thought the extra AC usage was worth it!
Ginny E. December 6, 2020
This is one of my favorite cold weather dinners. The flavors simply meld together. All good stews start with a mirepoix- i can use left over wine, and homemade chicken stock. It’s a great recipe. Thank you!
Colleen K. March 30, 2020
Awesome! Made exactly according the the recipe, but halved everything - there are two of us and this was still multiple meals worth - and it came out perfectly. We were inclined to skip the blender step, but decided to go for it while shredding the meat and it was definitely worth the extra thing to clean. We did, however, eat it right away instead of leaving it overnight, it was not overly fatty so no need to wait.
MStubbee March 7, 2020
I've cooked this in the crockpot and in the oven and last weekend I did a mash-up. I cooked everything through step 3 but went ahead and put all the liquid in the pot before putting it in the crockpot. In otherwords, I braised the ribs, set them aside and then sauteed and cooked everything else in the same pot, thinking that flavors would build better using that process than throwing everything into the crockpot raw. Following an earlier poster's advice I reduced the amount of broth (I used beef) and wine, about a cup each. I didn't have celery but did have carrots and red bell pepper so those went into the saute pot as well. It cooked in the crockpot on low for about 9 hours (it was soft and lovely before that). I pulled the meat off the bones and then skimmed off the visible oily liquid on the top of the pot and did not bother to blend any of it. It would have been delicious right then, but we had something else planned for dinner, so I let the pot cool down, transferred the whole mixture back into a dutch oven and stuck it in the fridge. The next night I was able to lift off the remaining fat and then I simply reheated it on top of the stove. Wow, I forgot how ridiculously delicious this dish is! And I think letting it sit for 24 hours improved it. I served it with a big pot of cheesy, buttery grits. We ate it three nights in a row and wished we had made more! I'll definitely not wait so long to have this again and will make a day ahead the next time we have people over.
Minimally I. March 7, 2020
So happy you like the dish. I'm convinced buttery, cheesy grits make everything at least 20% better!
Noemie December 17, 2019
Delicious recipe! I don't blend the sauce, but rather leave the vegetables rustic, soft, and yummy. I take everything out and reduce the sauce a bit and then add all the veg and meat back in. Love this recipe!
Judy November 25, 2019
Disappointing. I did it in the crockpot. Way too much liquid, and I only used one quart of the broth. My large crockpot was full. Beef broth would have been better. It just needed something.
Nicole P. November 5, 2019
This is absolutely delicious- very rich, and makes a ton. We have a seafood allergy, so no anchovy paste, but other than that made it per instructions in the oven. Seriously good, will absolutely make again when I see shortribs on sale!
Katherine O. June 15, 2019
Since this is listed on the page for recipes for the 6" Staub mini fry pan, I hesitate​ to try getting 5 1/2 pounds of bone-in short ribs into that little skillet.
Minimally I. June 15, 2019
When algorithms go wrong!
Jen June 15, 2019
If you take a look at the recipe, and all the glowing comments, you'll see you're in good hands! It's a great one and I wouldn't let a glitch (on another page no less) stop you from having a wonderful meal.
sue February 1, 2019
This is wonderful...absolutely restaurant quality meal.
SPark0101 October 29, 2018
Sharing my thoughts having made this in a slow cooker. Overall, the dish was tasty and my family enjoyed it, but it is pretty time-consuming.

In terms of my method, a few notes:
- I browned the short ribs, but didn't cook anything else before putting the ingredients in my slow cooker.
- I reduced the liquid and only used 1 cup of wine, 1/2 cup of stock, but all of the tomato juice and mushroom liquid.
- I mixed everything but the ribs in the slow cooker and then nestled the ribs in the pot.
- Otherwise, I followed the directions given except that I didn't puree the vegetables. Because I didn't have much liquid, the consistency of my ragu with the shredded meat was more of a stew than a soup.

From a taste standpoint, I increased seasonings and added crushed red peppers, and if I make this again, I will double vegetables but decrease the meat.
Kathryn L. October 8, 2018
Sounds absolutely delicious! I’ll wait until Chanukah or New Year’s Eve to try. It’s too hot outside to think about this dish. But come late November, December I’ll be looking for this to cook. My crock pot can’t wait.
Hannah October 1, 2018
Do you think I could make this in a crockpot? I want a special meal for Thursday but I work until 5😣
Hannah October 1, 2018
Omg Nevermind!!! I saw #7 on instructions!! Thank you
Elizabeth C. September 23, 2018
Thank you!
Elizabeth C. September 23, 2018
Just curious as to why you’d use chicken stock as the braising liquid as opposed to beef?
Minimally I. September 23, 2018
Just because I usually have homemade chicken stock in my freezer. Also, when I don't, I'm always happier with the chicken stock I purchase than the beef stock. Could be my crappy grocery store, but I've never found a really great beef stock there.
Trindi C. December 20, 2019
Would bone stock work?
kathleen B. September 23, 2018
Isn't this supposed to be a group of slow cooker recipes? Please - it sounds great, but I'd really like the slow cooker instructions!
Robin September 23, 2018
Read #7 in the instructions:

Slow-cooker variation: After browning the meat, add it to a slow cooker, along with the rehydrated mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients, and cook on "low" for 8 hours.