Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu

This recipe takes a typical braise and presents itself in an atypical dish. Use all of the vegetables, stock, and braising liquid once the ribs are fall-apart tender, as a thick pureed sauce for the finished dish. Hidden umami boosters include dry mushrooms, anchovy and tomato pastes pack rich, deep flavor into the short ribs during their braise, and also result in a hearty, meaty sauce. Serve the ragu over mashed potatoes, polenta, or pasta for a cold, wintry weekend dinner. Serves 6-8.
1OZdried mushrooms, preferably portabello or porcini
3LBSboneless beef short ribs, or 6 lbs bone-in, depending on your butcher
1TBSPNbacon fat, or olive oil
1Xonion, finely chopped
2Xcarrots, finely chopped
2Xcelery stalks, finely chopped
3Xgarlic cloves, finely chopped
2TSPNStomato paste
1TBSPNanchovy paste
1X750 ml bottle of full-bodied red wine
1Xcan of fire roasted tomatoes (about 14 oz.), diced
1TBSPNDijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce
2TSPNSdried thyme
1Xchicken stock quart or water, to fill for the braise
1Xfresh rosemary sprig, leaves finely chopped

  1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in the dried mushrooms. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid, and allow the mushrooms to rehydrate in the boiling water, stirring occasionally.
  2. Take the short ribs, blotting them dry with a paper towel, and season them with salt and pepper on all sides.
  3. In a large ovenproof pot or a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the bacon fat and begin to sear the short ribs, about 3 minutes on all sides or until nicely browned.
  4. Once the short ribs are all seared, set them aside, and add the mirepoix [onion, carrot, celery] to the same pot, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and incorporate into the vegetables. Saute for 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Using the wooden spoon to create a hole in the center of the vegetables, add the tomato and anchovy pastes, stirring continuously for 3 minutes until the pastes have slightly caramelized and darkened in color.
  6. Pour in the bottle of red wine, and bring the entire mixture to a simmer, allowing the red wine to reduce by half, about 10 minutes.
  7. Once the liquid in the pot is reduced by half, add the tomatoes, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, rehyrdated mushrooms and their liquid, and the dried thyme. Place the short ribs back in the pot, and fill the pot with chicken stock or water until the ribs are just barely covered. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover with a tight fitting liquid, and place the ovenproof pot in the center of the oven. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours, or until short ribs are fall apart tender.
  8. Remove the pot carefully from the oven, and transfer the ribs to a plate and allow to cool until able to handle. Meanwhile, take an immersion blender and puree the mixture in the pot used for the braise until smooth. Set the pot back on the stovetop over medium low heat, and bring to a simmer to reduce until thickened about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  9. With two forks, shred the short rib meat into smaller pieces, and reheat them by adding the meat back to the sauce in the pot. Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency and the ribs are heated through in the pot, serve over your choice of mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, or your favorite shape of pasta.


Adapted from Food52.

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