Saturday, December 17, 2011

Awesome Short Rib Ragu

I have been making this every weekend for three weeks running because short ribs have been on sale, and frankly, this is just so delicious that I don't mind that it taking 2 days to make it.
If you like slow-cooking beef, give this a try.
If you don't like slow-cooking beef... give this a try.

Step 1 - brown that meat.
Let your short ribs (about 3 lbs worth) come to room temperature, trim off any of that really thick, hard fat, season with salt, and get a good sear on the outside (use a little evoo in the pan).

Do this in batches so you don't end up steaming your meat.

Add 1 medium/large white onion, 2 celery ribs, and 3 carrots, 4 garlic cloves, all medium diced, into the bottom of the pan with all the tasty brown bits left by the meat. Season with salt.
You may need another drizzle of olive oil to get them all going.
Cook until the onions are almost translucent.

Next add a TBSP or so of tomato paste to the pot and pour in one bottle of dry red wine: tempranillo, cabernet, even a dolcetto would work.
Just make sure you like the taste of it to drink before you cook with it.
Throw in your herb bundle (use cheesecloth if you have it. I use tea bags meant for loose tea.)
Inside it should have: 1-2 bay leaves, half a sprig of fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dry), 3-4 fresh thyme stems (or 1 -2 tsp dry), 1/4 tsp ground clove, 1/2 tsp ground allspice, 5-6 crushed black peppercorns.
Allow that to simmer for about 10 minutes and then allow to cool.
Pour over browned short ribs, or place short ribs in the pot with the wine mixture, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day allow the chill to come off everything before starting to cook.
Over medium low heat on the stove, add 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and 3-4 cups of beef stock. Enough to cover all the meat in the pot but not come more than 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pot.
Optional addition: chopped, reconstituted porcini mushrooms.

Once up to a simmer, turn off the burner, add the lid to the pot and place in a 325º oven for 3 hrs.
If you remember, stir once or twice over the 3 hrs to move things around.

No, these are not Fig Newtons or dog treats.
By the time you remove it from the oven,  the meat should have fallen away from the bones (see above).
At this point I like to remove the meat and the bones and reduce the liquids in the pot over medium-high heat for another 40-45 minutes, or until thick.
I also shred apart the meat once it has cooled for easier consumption.

Add the meat back in and allow to set.
I prefer to let it sit overnight again, eating it on Day 3.

This goes brilliantly over most things: polenta, pasta, couscous, hearty bread... whatever you have on hand.
I was really in the mood for pappardelle, so that's what I made this time around.

As always, cook the pasta in salted boiling water, drain, and cook the final minute or two with the sauce so the flavors combine.

I gave this a sprinkle of pecorino, but it doesn't need it.
It's perfect just as it is... somewhere between a stew and a ragu.
Try it out the next time you have a laid-back weekend.
You won't be sorry.

And if you've been reading my blog for a while now, yes, this is essentially what I made for the So-Bro(nx) Dinner Party, but I have perfected it since then, so it deserved a second showing.
I think this will be showing up for Christmas Eve Dinner as well.


Chuck said...

This could end up on my Christmas Eve table as well. Sounds absolutely delish. Hope I can do as well as you on it.

RocknRollGourmet said...

Keys are low and slow and reduce reduce reduce!

Salamander said...

I finally made this tonight (well, served it tonight; made it over the past 3 days). My husband took a bite and all he could say was "holy shit". I concur. Big winner.

RocknRollGourmet said...

So glad it worked out for you!