Although Spring is here, the weather has still been on the cooler side and I figured that I could probably get at least one more good braise in before it gets too warm to have the oven on for hours at a time. I am a huge fan of a good long braise that slowly tenderizes the meat until it literally falls off the bone and melts in your mouth and there was one more recipe that I wanted to try while it was still cool. I came across this recipe for a short rib ragu on The Parsley Thief a while ago and it immediately caught my attention. All you need to do is look at the list of ingredients to see that it is just packed with umami and flavour that could only get better the longer that it simmers.
Short ribs are a fattier cut of beef which means that we start this recipe off right away with more flavour and then we then continue to build build it by browning the short ribs on all sides. The sauce starts out with a pretty standard array of vegetables and garlic but then it jumps right into the deep end with a flavour powerhouse, anchovy paste. To make sure that we get all of the goodness from those brown bits on the bottom of the pan we deglaze it with some red wine and then we start building the complexities of the sauce with tomato paste, dried porcini mushrooms, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and an array of herbs and spices.
One of the things that I like about braising is that generally once you get it into the oven it is pretty hands off until it is done so you get a really great meal with minimal effort. Since this recipe uses short ribs there is one final step and that is to pull the bones out of the pot and shred the beef. I wanted this dish to focus on the meat so I decided to puree the sauce while I waited for the meat to cool enough to shred, though you could easily skip this step. As promised, this ragu was just packed with flavour and it was easily one of the tastiest sauces that I have had in a while. You could serve this ragu on pretty much anything that you want and since it had been a while since I last used a creamy polenta, I decided to go with that.
Braised Short Rib Ragu
Short ribs braised in a tasty flavour packed sauce until fall apart in your mouth tender and good.
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds short ribs, 2-3 inches long
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
- 1 piece parmigano reggiano (parmesan) rind, optional
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 handful parsley, chopped
- Soak the mushrooms in 1/2 cup boiling water.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Sear the short ribs until brown on all sides and set aside.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil and fat from the pan and reduce to medium heat.
- Add the onions, celery and carrots and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and anchovy paste and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the red wine and deglaze the pan.
- Add the ribs, the mushrooms and their liquid, tomato puree, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, rosemary, fennel, parmigano reggiano rind, bay leaves, salt and pepper and enough beef stock to cover the ribs.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to a preheated 350F/180C oven and cook until the meet is falling off the bones, about 3 hours.
- Remove the beef from the pan, set aside to cool
- Puree the sauce.
- Pull the beef from the bones, shred it, return it to the sauce and simmer to thicken if desired.