Sunday, February 12, 2012

Short Rib Ragu

Yesterday I took on a new challenge with beef: Short Rib Ragu. I have had a few delicious braised ragus in my day so I had high expectations for my own creation. I read through a few recipes online and combined a few to kind of adapt my own.

I started by browning off around 4-5 pounds of short ribs in a little bit of vegetable oil in a dutch oven. The store only had 3 pounds worth so I also added 3 back ribs to have enough meat. After 2-3 minutes on each side I removed the meat and put it to the side. I added two diced carrots, 1 large diced yellow onion and 2 diced stalks of celery. I learned on google that this combination is called a mirepoix.  
After the veggies had cooked down a bit I added 2 cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I gave this combo another few minutes before adding about half of a large bottle of merlot. The wine took about 10 minutes to reduce by half. The mixture thickened up a bit and I added a tablespoon of dijon mustard, 2-3 lugs of Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, fresh chopped thyme and rosemary and dried oregano.  

After a minute or two for the mushrooms to soften, I put the ribs back into the pot and added enough beef stock to almost cover them completely. I cooked this on high for a few minutes until it came to a boil and then covered and into the oven on 350 degrees for 3 hours.
The aromas of the next 3 hours were ridiculous.  Like begging me to rip the meat out of the oven and eat it immediately. After about 2 hours it looked ready, but I left it for an extra 45 minutes to be safe.  
When it came out it looked like this. I removed the meat and bones from the pot and set aside to cool. In the meantime, I used an immersion blender to puree the sauce a bit. I left it a little chunky but tried to make sure most of the larger veggies were chopped down. I easily pulled the meat off the bones and pulled it apart to a shredded texture on the a cutting board; most of the meat just fell off the bones by itself with no effort. The shredded meat went back into the dutch oven in the pureed sauce and I folded it together until mixed. I added just a bit of starchy water from the boiled gnocchi to loosen the mixture a little, and it was ready to serve.
The meat was tender and had a delicious dark and salty sweetness. One recipe I read suggested refrigerating the sauce over night and scraping off the fat that rose to the top, and I would definitely try to do this next time because there was a lot of grease coming off of the meat that could have been eliminated. The ragu was nice over gnocchi but would also go well with a pappardelle or tagliatelle. Otherwise, I don't think there was much I would do differently. This dish was great and quite easy to put together.

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