Short ribs are going through a real renaissance just like lamb shanks and pork cheeks have before them. They are a cheap cut full of fat and sinew but that disappears as you slowly cook them in red wine and stock. Roasting the tomato puree ~ or ‘cooking it out’, as we say in the kitchen ~ rounds off the tart notes you sometimes get in tomatoes.
Olive oil for frying
6 thick-cut meaty beef short ribs
1 large head of garlic
1 heaped teaspoon of tomato puree
1 x 750 ml bottle of red wine
1 litre of beef stock
150g of pancetta lardons
250g small chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped flat leaf parsley.
1. Preheat the oven to 1700 C / gas 3.
2. Heat a deep-sided roasting tray on the hob and a glug of olive oil. Season the short ribs thoroughly, then fry for 10 – 15 minutes to brown really well on all sides.
3. Add the halved garlic head, cut side down, pushing it to the bottom of the pan. Add tomato puree and heat for a minute or two to cook it out. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits at the bottom. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half, then add stock to nearly cover the ribs (you’ll need less stock if your roasting tray isn’t very large). Bring to the boil again, basting the ribs with the juices.
4. Cover the roasting tray with foil and cook in the preheated oven for 3 – 4 hours, basting now and then, until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone.
5. About 10 minutes before the short ribs are ready to come out, fry the pancetta for 2 – 3 minutes until crisp and golden. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until tender. Drain off any excess fat.
6. When the short ribs are ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and pass through a sieve. Spoon off any excess fat from the beef cooking liquid and mix with the garlic. (If the sauce is too thin, reduce the cooking liquid by heating it for 10 – 15 minutes more after staining.)
7. Serve the short ribs topped with the hot pancetta and mushrooms and the sauce poured around. Garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley.