Braised Short Ribs with Celery Root Purée

  • Serves

    serves 4


Cocoa powder enriches these braised beef short ribs from Manhattan-based chef Melissa Muller Daka. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story À la Minute.


For the Ribs

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lb. bone-in short ribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 14 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups full-bodied red wine, such as nero d'avola
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
  • 12 cup microgreens, such as arugula

For the Purée

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 12 lb. celery root, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 12 cups chicken stock
  • 12 tsp. ground celery seed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Step 1

Make the ribs: Heat oven to 400°. Heat oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season ribs with salt and pepper; rub with 3 tbsp. cocoa powder. Working in batches, cook ribs, turning as needed, until browned, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add garlic, celery, onion, and carrot to pan; cook until soft, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook 3 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half, 4–6 minutes. Return ribs to pan and add stock, cinnamon, bay leaves, sage, cloves, thyme, and star anise; boil. Cover and bake until beef is very tender, 1½ hours. Transfer ribs to a plate; discard bones. Slice ribs in half crosswise. Place pan over medium-high heat and add remaining cocoa powder; simmer until liquid is reduced to about 2 cups, 18–20 minutes, then strain into a bowl. Stir in butter, salt, and pepper.

Step 2

Make the purée: Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook garlic and leek until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add celery root, stock, celery seed, salt, and pepper; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until celery root is tender, 25–30 minutes. Let cool slightly; using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables and 1 cup cooking liquid to a blender and purée until smooth. Divide purée between plates and top with short ribs; drizzle with sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and, if you like, microgreens.

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