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Food52's Short Rib Ragu

[Photograph: Sarah Shatz]

Short rib ragu may not be the first thing you think of when planning your holiday cooking as humble braises often take a backseat to large elegant roasts. But not much can beat the decadent richness of a properly braised pot of short ribs. Add a thick, mushroomy sauce as Minimally Invasive's winning recipe in the new Food52 Cookbook suggests, and you'll be on your way to making holiday meal history.

While many of the ingredients in the ragu are fairly standard, it is the surprise touches, like Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard, that really set this ragu apart. Each adds another layer of tangy and savory complexity to counter the rich meatiness of the ribs.

Why I picked this recipe: Short ribs are one of the best cuts for braising; their preparation as a ragu makes for an elegant and unique (yet easy) option for a holiday meal.

What worked: Unctuous, meaty, and laden with mushroomy umami, this is one seriously comforting dish. Be sure to include the gremolata; its verdant brightness keeps the richness at bay.

What didn't: Don't be shy about reducing the final sauce before tossing it with the shredded meat.

Suggested tweaks: Amanda and Merrill suggest pasta instead of polenta as a serving option; you could also take the dish in a North African direction by using couscous as well.

Reprinted with permission from The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2 by Amanda Hesser and Merill Stubbs, copyright 2012. Published by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

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