Short Rib Ragu - Perfect Cold Weather Comfort


This is one of the best dishes I've made in the past year or two, possibly the very best in terms of flavor. I've served it over small pasta shapes, but it is likely best over polenta, either loose or grilled in cakes. It is very rich, so stretches to more servings than one would expect.


What makes this recipe so good?  Anything with short ribs is pretty darn good.  This recipe creates several distinct rich flavors - meat, vegetable, wine, herb - which all present themselves in the final dish.


Cooking tip: Scrape down the sides of your Dutch oven or roasting pan during and at the end of cooking.  The browned coating on the edges is super concentrated flavor that can be returned to the cooking liquid.



   1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms

   3 pounds beef short ribs

   1 cup onion, chopped

   1 large stalk celery, chopped

   2 carrots, chopped

   3 medium garlic cloves, sliced

   2 anchovies

   2 T tomato paste

   1 large sprig rosemary (or 1 T dried)

   4 sprigs thyme (or 1 t dry)

   2 cups full bodied red wine (Cabernet or a blend)

   2 T soy sauce

   1 fresh bay leaf (or two dried)

   2 cups imported San Marzano tomatoes with sauce     

   3 cups beef stock

         - or 1 cup veal stock plus water



   Dutch oven, or large oven proof pot



  • Soak mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water
  • Salt and pepper ribs, brown in batches, remove
  • Sweat onion, celery, carrot, garlic, anchovies, tomato paste,  fresh thyme
  • Add wine and soy reduce to half
  • Return ribs to pot, add bay leaf, mushrooms and soaking liquid (avoid gritty bits at bottom)
  • Add tomatoes, stock and water to barely cover ribs
  • 350 oven, covered, 3 hours
  • Scrape down sides of pot several times while cooking
  • Remove ribs, blend veg and sauce with a stick blender. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Separate rib meat from bones and shred. Return to sauce.



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