Rustic Short Rib Ragout

    This rich, flavorful stew will rival any you might order at an Italian restaurant. The ribs are so tender, the meat falls off the bone.

    1 celery stalk, chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    6 slices sugar-free bacon
    4 pounds beef short ribs, English cut (cut between the bones), about 2- to 3-inch lengths
    ¾ cup beef broth
    2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
    2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
    2 bay leaves
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, not drained
    ½ cup dry red wine
    ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
    1.Place the celery and onion in the slow cooker.
    2.In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 6 to 10 minutes. Set the bacon aside. Add about half the ribs to the skillet and cook until browned, turning to brown evenly, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the browned ribs to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining ribs. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it over the ribs.
    3.Pour the broth into the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits of meat, until it boils. Cook, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes more. Pour the broth into the slow cooker.
    4.Season the ribs with the garlic, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf. Pour the tomatoes and wine over the ribs. Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
    5.Remove the ribs, both meat and bones. (Be sure to remove all the bones.) Discard the bay leaves. Carefully, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until nearly smooth (see Tip, this page). Shred the meat and discard the bones. Return the meat to the sauce and stir to blend. Cover and cook on High for 15 to 30 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

    PER SERVING: 1,004 CALORIES ★ FAT 91 G (82%) ★ NET CARBS 3 G (1%) ★ PROTEIN 38 G (15%)