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BEEF SHORT RIBS RAGU

These hearty one pot meals especially during the Winter is LIFE! I think I get more use out of the slow cooker during the colder months than any other time of year, but with that comes big batch cooking for even tastier leftovers along with really easy prepping so that you can do whatever you need to do for the day while it slowly cooks.

This Beef Short Ribs Ragu recipe is among my favorite next to my Braciole & Italian Sausage recipe. It’s perfect for cold days and also for the holidays. But I’ll admit I’ve made this when it wasn’t cold because it’s that good. And often when I’m being good with my choice of eats, I won’t ignore the craving for this! Okay, believe it or not it doesn’t require anything fancy to make. Cooking it long and slow is the main ingredient to making this taste amazing. Normally I would use 1/2 cup of a dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon but there have been times I didn’t have any or forgot to get wine and it came out just as good.

There is one ingredient you don’t want to ditch when making this, and that’s the pecorino Romano cheese. Make sure you go to the cheese section and buy the block of pecorino. Not the grated. It is often compared to Parmesan cheese but the difference is that it’s made of sheep milk; giving that much stronger pungent taste. AND IT GOES SO PERFECT WITH THIS DISH! Trust me. You can use the leftover block of Romano in place of Parmesan cheese, over any pasta dish, or shaved over salads. It can also be stored tight in a freezer bag in the freezer for future uses if you don’t plan to use the rest of it so quickly before the expiration date.

One last thing! If you’re not feeling pasta, you can definitely serve this over a baked potato, polenta, Italian inspired quesadillas, and even top a homemade pizza with the shredded meat. Never feel you’re limited to only one dish when you make a big batch of food. Enjoy!

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BEEF SHORT RIBS RAGU
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Place about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and bring to high heat. Brown all sides of the short ribs about a minute each side. Lay the short ribs into a slow cooker set for 8 hours on low.
  2. Drain the excess oil from the pan, place the pan back on the stove on medium heat. Add the beef broth and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Then, add the onions, carrot, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Stir for about two minutes and transfer into the slow cooker.
  4. Add the bay leaf, tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, dry red wine (optional), and Romano cheese chunks. Stir gently and cover the slow cooker to cook.
  5. Feel free to stir everything once half way through if you like. It should be ready in as little as 6 hours but 8 hours is perfect.
  6. Remove each short rib onto a large cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. Place the shredded meat back into the slow cooker, add salt as needed, stir, and serve over pasta.
Recipe Notes

I recommend using a spoon to scoop the pools of fat at the top. You can also do so by scraping the solidified fat at the top after it’s been refrigerated.

LAMB STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

If you love stuffed cabbage rolls, then you’ll love this recipe! It takes the whole dish to a whole new level. I know some people are purists but you’ll be surprised to find there are many cultures including the Middle East that have their own variation of stuffed cabbage or some other kind of leaf. So I took the concept of the traditional Polish stuffed cabbage and used a more flavorful meat like ground lamb and complimenting it using the proper spices for it. Yet another fusion dish perhaps that is worth the prep work, I swear!

I’ll say though, it may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. You can make the lamb mixture the day before which is super fast. Then take care of the rest later. One major word of advice though is make sure you have a big, tall pot one you’d use to cook spaghetti in. Also, a hand held strainer that would fit a cabbage head in. This will make removing a piping hot cabbage head so much easier preventing burnt hands.

One last thing, the very end of the leaf can have a very thick spine which makes it difficult sometimes to roll the cabbage leaf. In the picture above you can see I cut an upside-down “V” to remove most of it off. It does make a big difference. Don’t worry about ruining the leaf! If you are confused and have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!


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LAMB STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a pan over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon together until the onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the ground lamb, rice, cooled onion mixture, fresh cilantro and salt thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Place the cabbage head carefully into the boiling hot water using a large strainer with a handle for about 5 minutes. You want the leaves to appear bright green.
  4. Remove the cabbage head into a large bowl. Peel off some of the softened leaves and place onto a plate covered with paper towels. Place the cabbage back into the boiling water for a few minutes until the next layer of leaves are ready to be peeled. Do this a few times until you peel most of the leaves off the head. Save the damaged and/or outer leaves to cover the bottom and top of the baking dish.
  5. Using a knife cut an upside-down “V” to remove the toughest part of the spine at the bottom of each leaf. This will make rolling the leaves easier. Place each cabbage leaf sideways, spoon about ¼ cup give or take of the lamb mixture onto the bottom part of the leaf. Roll it up and tuck in the sides before completely rolling it up.
  6. Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with imperfect cabbage leaves, place the stuffed cabbage rolls into the baking dish and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Add the bay leaves and vegetable broth. Top the rolls with tomato puree, the remaining fresh chopped onion and feta crumbles.
  7. Cover everything with remaining leftover cabbage leaves and aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for about an 1h 15min to 1hr 30min. Everything should be boiling hot.