MasterChef quarter-finalist Hannah Gregory makes good use of a cheap meat that’s often overlooked to deliver a dish rich in flavour
I think it might be time to admit I’m in love with short ribs. Slow-cooked, smokey, meaty lollipops, stuffed in tacos, tossed through pasta, braised and loaded onto piles of creamy mash, I don’t think I have found a way I won’t inhale this cut of meat. Rich and full of flavour with loads of connective tissue and gelatine ready to render down to create the most unxious of cooking liquors – yep, I admit it. I am totally, head over heels, mind-blowingly in love with short ribs.
As an ingredient they are becoming more popular, but in my opinion are still underutilized. They are cheap as chips and pack more flavour than lots of other cuts of cow. For this article I asked you guys to decide between spag bol or lasagne and the majority spoke. . . so here you have it, short rib lasagne. If you are still to try them, this recipe could be for you – an absolute classic, upgraded slightly. Very simple and the most delicious meal I have made in a while.
SHORT RIB LASAGNE
Tipple of choice – a tasty little Barolo
4 short ribs – if getting these from the butcher you will need to ask them to cut them in half so they fit in a casserole dish. If you are getting them from the supermarket, they will most likely already be cut, but remember you will need 8 halves. Make sense?
4 tablespoons plain flour, plus 25g for the bechamel
3 tablespoons veg oil
2 carrots for the base (chopped), plus 2 for the ragu
2 sticks of celery for the base (chopped), plus 2 for the ragu
1 onion for the base (chopped), plus 1 for the ragu
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tin plum tomatoes
Fresh lasagne sheets (as in the ones you get in the supermarket – although if you want to make your own, gold star)
1 tablespoon tomato purée
75g parmesan grated, plus extra for the top
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Salt & peps
Fresh basil to garnish
1 ball of mozzarella
Toss the ribs in the 4 tablespoons of flour.
Heat the veg oil in a lidded casserole dish and brown the ribs all over. Make sure you get a good caramelisation all over them. Do this in batches so not to overcrowd the pan – too much ribbage in the pan will result in stewing the meat, which no one wants.
Once the ribs are browned, set aside.
Add another glug of oil to the pan and cook the celery, carrots, onion and garlic for around 5 minutes.
Chuck the ribs, rosemary, bay, red wine and tinned tomatoes into the pot with the veg. Half fill the tomato can with water, give it a good swill and add this in as well. Bring to the boil and then reduce on the lowest heat.
Grab a piece of greaseproof paper and run under water, scrunch into a ball (this makes it far more malleable) and then lay over the top of the ragu. Place the lid on and leave to cook slowly for 3 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily. I always check this with a teaspoon – if you can scoop a spoon of meat without much trouble, you are golden.
Remove the ribs from the mix. When cool enough to handle (but still warm enough to be loose), remove the bones and any sinew, shred the meat with forks and set aside.
Use a potato masher to squish all the veg in the casserole dish. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a saucepan and reduce on a low heat for 15 minutes.
Finely dice your remaining carrots, celery and onion.
Sweat these with the lardons in a large pan until softened.
Add the reduced mixture to the sweated veg along with the tomato purée and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes.
If the sauce still looks too wet, reduce further.
Add the shredded beef into the mix and stir through – set aside to cool.
To make your bechamel, gently heat the milk.
Make a roux by melting the butter in a pan and then gradually adding the flour a spoonful at a time. Let this cook out for a couple of minutes.
Gradually whisk in the warm milk until you have a silky smooth sauce. Add in the parmesan, gruyere and dijon. Season to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
To assemble the lasagne, take an ovenproof dish and cover the base with the ragu, then a layer of cheese sauce and the sheets of pasta. Repeat this until everything is used up – your top layer should be the cheese sauce.
Pop in the oven for 15 minutes then take it out and grate over some fresh parmesan and rip over the fresh mozzarella.
Pop back in the oven for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Garnish with fresh basil.
WanderSups: Food created with love, inspired by journeys around the world, dished up on home turf
Find out about Hannah’s upcoming Supper Clubs and what she is currently cooking via Instagram @WanderSups or visit wandersups.com