Sunday, January 23, 2011

Short Rib Ragu

I spent a quiet 24 hours alone with my dog in my house this weekend.  Chris and the girls had a little overnight ski trip and I opted out in favor of lounging, menu planning, and sports and action movie watching.  In the busy days during the week, the weekends are great opportunities for me to think about food.  Especially this weekend.  Think and read.  In my usual delinquency in using up freezer items, I realized I still had several packages of Mt. Adams grass fed beef I had purchased in November.  I started thinking of cozy apres ski, Sunday supper, short rib recipe ideas.  Something new, something different.

5-6 lbs bone in short ribs
2 tbsp bacon fat
1 pear, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed6 scallions, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, diced
4 small tender stalks celery, diced
8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cup red wine
4 cups beef stock
10 oz apple juice
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce

Heat oven to 335f.  In a large enamel covered cast iron pot, brown the short ribs in the bacon fat.  I would normally always season the ribs, but with the soy sauce in the recipe, I decided it would be too much salt.  Also, with the eventual shredding of the meat, it will get plenty of coverage in seasoning.  Once all the ribs are browned, keeping only 1 tbsp of oil in the pot, add in the pear, garlic, scallions, carrots, celery and mushrooms.  Saute over medium high heat until browned and softened.  Add in the tomato paste and bay leaf and stir to incorporate.  Deglaze with the wine and let come to a bubbling boil for a couple of minutes.  Add in apple juice, beef stock, and soy sauce and bring back to a boil before adding the short ribs back in.  Once short ribs are in, bring back to a boil.  Place pot into the oven and let braise for about 3 hours, or until ribs are fall of the bone tender.  Check on them every hour or so to flip if necessary and make sure ribs are fully submerged in liquid.

Remove the ribs from the pot and place on a pan to cool.  Cover with foil so the ribs don't dry out while you are waiting for them to cool down enough to handle.  Meanwhile, remove bay leaf from the sauce.  Try to skim the fat off the top of the sauce.  If you are making this a day ahead, or enough time ahead to chill the sauce, you can skip this step as it will be easy to remove the hardened fat off the top once the ragu has been chilled down.  Puree the sauce in a blender.  Bring the sauce back to a boil and reduce to desired thickness.  I like the reduction to intensify the flavors.  

Shred the short ribs with your hands, or cut into small pieces, removing any large pieces of fat.  Return the shredded meat to the sauce and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes to allow the sauce to gel with the meat.  Ideally, chill overnight.  Then remove the hardened fat on top before reheating.  Season with freshly ground pepper.  Serve on polenta, pasta, or rice.  I chose pasta.

As an added little zest, make a quick gremolata
1 scallion, finely minced
1 large lemon, zest only
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
Mix together well and let sit at room temp for about an hour.  Serve on the side.  Chris & the girls did not care for the gremolata, but I liked it a lot.  To each his own.  The ragu was fabulous!  The pureed sauce made it thick without any flour, etc. and got vegetables into my kids without them knowing otherwise.  Bonus!

1 comment:

  1. I have had the privilege of tasting this and am just here to vouch that it's incredible (as if anyone doubted). :)

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