By Minimally Invasive / Serves 8 to 10
WHO: Minimally Invasive, a graphic designer and freelance writer living in Ringwood, New Jersey, is always up for trying something new. Her latest projects are perfecting her smoker technique, as well as turning out the perfect focaccia. She blogs at www.chimeraobscura.com/mi.
WHAT: A hearty, earthy ragu best made a day in advance. We’re confident this would be just as satisfying over pasta as it is over polenta.
HOW: Mushrooms, which are 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.
WHY WE LOVE IT : Minimally Invasive wrote, “Let’s be honest, short ribs are great in any incarnation, but 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.” The gremolata is a 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.
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
5 to 6 pounds short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, bacon fat, or lard
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
Half a 750-ml bottle red wine
One 14-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes, with their juices
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 to 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large rosemary sprig, leaves removed and chopped
2 bay leaves
4 to 5 cups chicken stock, low-sodium broth, or water
1 large garlic clove, minced
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
Polenta for serving
1. To make the ragu: This is best if prepared one day before serving (see Tips and Techniques, below).
Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water for at least 10 minutes, until soft.
3. Meanwhile season the ribs well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof heavy pot (such as a 5-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering.
Brown the ribs in batches for 2 to 3 minutes per side; set aside.
4. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pot, then sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until soft. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Create a hot spot in the pot by moving the vegetables aside, leaving about a 3-inch circle bare. Add the tomato paste and anchovy paste to the hot spot and stir vigorously until caramelized, then stir this mixture into the vegetables.
Add the red wine to deglaze the pot and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Lift the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and add to the pot, then add the soaking liquid, minus the last ¼ inch to keep sediment out of your dish, and the herbs.
5. Add the ribs back to the pot, then add enough chicken stock so the ribs are nearly covered.
Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover tightly and braise in the oven for at least 3 hours, or until the ribs are fall-apart tender.
6. Remove the ribs from the braising liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, remove the bay leaves from the braising liquid and discard. Puree the braising liquid with an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender, then return to the pot). Set the pot over medium-low heat to reduce if the sauce seems thin.
7. When the ribs have cooled, remove and discard the bones and any large pieces of fat. Shred the beef and return it to the pot. Let cool to room temperature, skimming any large pools of fat from the surface, and refrigerate overnight.
8. The next day, make the gremolata: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.
9. Remove the solidified fat from the surface of the ragu and reheat. Serve over polenta, sprinkled with the gremolata.
What the Community Said
bonnierae: “Oh wow! I just made this, and all I can say is ‘Wow!’ This recipe produces an absolutely
delicious meal. Good call on the gremolata. That really adds a nice, distinguishing flavor.
Tips and Techniques
minimally invasive: “You can definitely serve it right away, and I do whenever time is short, but
refrigerating overnight helps to remove a bit more fat, and it also lets the flavors mingle more. Like
chili, it’s always better on the second day!”
From The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs.