- 2 teaspoons fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Zest 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 pounds beef shortribs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 slices bacon, diced
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 head garlic, peeled and each clove sliced
- 2 cups full bodied red wine
- 2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced, or 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 3” sprigs fresh savory (or substitute 2 3” sprigs rosemary)
- 6 3” sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 4” sprigs fresh sage
- 4 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup mix of coarsely chopped thyme, savory, and sage
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
Put all the rub ingredients in a spice grinder or blender and grind until fine. Coat the ribs on all sides with the rub. It’s best but not essential to rub the ribs ahead of time (the day before is ideal) and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Lower as many ribs into the pan as will fit in a single layer. Brown all sides well then remove the ribs to a platter and brown any remaining.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoon of fat in the pan. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until it renders most of its fat but does not crisp. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Stir in the wine, tomatoes, salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Return the ribs to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Divide the herb sprigs into two piles and tie each with kitchen twine. Tuck them between the ribs in the braising pan. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low. Gently simmer until the ribs are tender enough to pierce with a fork and the meat pulls easily off the bone, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Alternately, if your pan is heatproof, you can braise the beef in the covered pot in a 300-degree oven.
Take the ribs out of the sauce with tongs and transfer them to a large platter. Remove and discard the herb bundles. Skim off any visible fat on the surface of the sauce. Stir in the chopped mix of herbs and increase the heat to high. Boil the sauce until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. Stir in the parsley. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Spoon the sauce over the ribs and serve.