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Slow-Cooker Short Rib Ragu

This meaty sauce cooks itself while you're away, and gives you more than one option for an easy dinner. The dish is better when made ahead, giving you time to decide how you want to enjoy it. Serve this satisfying ragu over toasted bread, pasta, or polenta.

  • prep: 30 mins
    total time: 6 hours 30 mins
  • servings: 6




  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs oregano or rosemary

Cook's Note

The ragu will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  1. Step 1

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. In batches, cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer ribs to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet, and add onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup juice from tomatoes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon.

  2. Step 2

    Transfer vegetables and liquid to slow cooker and add tomatoes, breaking them up as you go. Add herb sprigs; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high until meat is fork-tender, 6 hours.

  3. Step 3

    With a slotted spoon, remove herb sprigs and transfer meat to a cutting board. With a ladle or large spoon, skim fat from cooking liquid (you'll remove about 1 1/4 cups). With two forks, shred meat and return to cooking liquid. Serve immediately, or let cool in liquid and reheat over medium before serving.

    This meaty sauce cooks itself while you're away, and gives you more than one option for an easy dinner.

    ...with wide noodles, like pappardelle

    ...on toasted crusty bread

    ...over simple polenta, such as this Polenta with Corn and Thyme

Everyday Food, October 2010