Slow-cooked short-rib with wild mushrooms – winter food for the weekend
Author: Stewart Turner
Short rib is one of those cuts which no one used to buy, but it’s recently swung into fashion. My swanked up version – slow-cooked and then finished with a Parmesan and wild mushroom topping – makes for a seriously tasty weekend lunch.
For the beef, you’ll need a decent butcher, which hangs its meat well – ours is from a farmer in Cumbria, and is aged for 28 days, which is just right for intensifying those meaty flavours and softening the texture without it getting too gamey. Short rib is a cut that needs a bit of work: where you can just hack up a sirloin or fillet, bung it in a pan and it’ll taste good, braising cuts – ox tail and beef cheek for example – want a bit of TLC to get the best out of them. The way we cook this, en papillote with the meat wrapped up in a foil parcel, locks in all the juices and flavours, which is just what you want.
Throw the meat on in the morning and leave it to look after itself for a few hours, then you could serve it as is and you’d be golden – but to turn this into a real showstopper, you’ll want to add my garlicy, mushroomy, creamy, cheesy topping.
This year, the mushrooms – one of my all-time favourite foods – have been absolutely phenomenal: their intense, earthly flavours are just what this season is about and they taste spot on with the beef. I’d also cook up some deep, sweet root veg – beetroot, parsnips or squash – to eat alongside. This is the kind of meal best put on a big platter, and people can dig in and help themselves. Proper, hearty comfort food.
For the rib
2.5 kg piece of short rib on the bone
1 onion peeled and cut into thick slices
1 head garlic, split
½ bunch thyme
3 sprigs of rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the topping
250g mixed wild mushrooms
2 shallots – peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped chives
50ml double cream
50g grated Parmesan
Method Preheat the oven to 200°C, season the short rib well and drizzle with a little olive oil. Put it into the oven to roast for about 20 minutes until nicely sealed and browned.
Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 140°C. Lay out a large piece of foil, large enough to wrap the beef, and top with another piece of grease proof paper. Scatter over the onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary and then place the beef on top
Wrap up the beef in the greaseproof and foil to form a parcel, making sure it is well sealed. Then return to the oven a cook for about four hours until the meat is soft and yielding. To test, poke a skewer into the meat – if there’s no resistance, then it’s done – if it feels a bit tough return to the oven for another 30 minutes
Remove the parcel from the oven and allow to cool slightly. While the beef is cooling heat a good splash of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the wild mushrooms until golden, then add the shallot and garlic continue cooking for a further 2 minutes, tossing the mushrooms to incorporate the shallot, then add the cream and bring to the boil simmer the cream until its reduced to a nice coating consistency then mix in the herbs and set aside
Open up the beef parcel and gently remove the bones. Place on a serving platter and spread the mushrooms over the top, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan, place under a hot grill until the Parmesan forms a lovely golden brown crust.
Carve into large chunks and serve with some roasted parsnips and buttered Brussels tops.
Serve with: 2011 Zambartas, Maratheftiko, Krasochorio, Cyprus, £16.95
Demetri Walters MW recommends looking to Cyprus for an unusual match with Stewart’s melting beef dish. “This one’s a youthful, fruity, dry red which is balanced by supple tannins and notable freshness,” he says.
More information: Made from 100% Maratheftiko from both bush and trellised vines, the grapes are first selected by hand on a sorting table. They are then gently crushed and cold soaked for five days in a temperature controlled stainless-steel tank to start the process of extraction prior to the alcoholic fermentation. This takes place at an average of some 22°C over the course of a week prior to pressing and subsequent ageing for 10-12 months in two to three year old French oak barrels.