It’s a German thing. Although, after reading the ingredients, it seems to be a mash-up of Italian, Asian and German. Typically this traditional German stew includes bratwurst and sauerkraut, but most notably is how it’s cooked. Eintopf translates to “one pot”—a magic word to most home chefs.
This particular recipe, made with bone-in short ribs, is braised until the meat melts off the bone. Fennel — fresh bulb and dried seeds — stars in the braise, while the fronds are sliced for garnishing. Every bite of this stew bursts with flavor, and, as is the case with so many one-pot meals, this dish will only improve with time as all the ingredients sit and mingle.
Using Japanese white sweet potatoes was a new one on us, and we were surprised to see them at our local supermarket. However, they were on the small side so we bought, and used, two.
Now, we made one major alteration. And that is after you drain out the vegetable solids from the pot DO NOT discard the flavorful veggies, blasphemy! Use an immersion blender on the solids and add them to the liquid broth after you discard the surface oil. This not only enhances the flavor profile, but also gives the stew some heft instead of a brothy base.
And you just might about faint when you go to buy the short ribs, the cost had us shell-shocked, and may be prohibitive for some. So go ahead and use chuck roast in its place if necessary.
Eintopf: Braised Short Ribs with Fennel, Squash and Sweet Potato
- 4 lbs. meaty, bone-in short ribs, cut into single-bone portions
- 1 Tbsp. neutral oil, such as grapeseed, canola or vegetable oil
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (about 2¼ cups), top with fronds separated from bulb and thinly sliced
- 6 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
- ½ tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 white sweet potato, such as Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, or use an orange sweet potato (2 loose cups)
- ½ small butternut squash (about 1 lb. 3 oz.), seeds removed, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 14½-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, scrubbed and grated
- 4 cups torn or cut fresh greens, such as kale, mature spinach, mustard greens or dandelion greens
- Warm crusty bread, for serving
- Season the short ribs with a sprinkle of salt on all sides. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, brown the tops and sides of short ribs, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate and repeat the browning process with the remaining ribs.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Add the chopped fennel bulb, (reserve the top and fronds for garnish), shallots and garlic to the pot, season with salt, and toss to coat in the pan drippings. Sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until softened, 3 minutes.
- Add the fennel seeds and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and break apart the whole pieces with a wooden spoon or other cooking utensil. Cook until the tomato juices are thickened, about 6 minutes.
- Return the browned short ribs, bone side up, to the pot along with any drippings from the plate. Pour in the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer. Cover and transfer pot to the oven. Braise until the meat is tender, but not falling off the bone, about 2 to 2½ hours.
- Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Transfer the cooked short ribs to a plate. Using a colander or sieve set over a bowl, drain out the vegetable solids from the pot and discard (or not, see note above about using an immersion blender), reserving the liquid broth. Skim off and discard as much oil as you can from the surface of the liquid using a spoon or a ladle. (You should have about 3 to 4 cups of broth.)
- Return the broth to the pot, add the potato and squash, and pour in the coconut milk. Season to taste with salt and the 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add the ginger and return the short ribs to the pot, nestling the pieces between the vegetables so that the meat is mostly submerged in the liquid. Return the pot to the oven and braise uncovered until the potato and squash are tender, the meat is falling off the bone, and the liquid is slightly reduced, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
- On the stovetop but off heat, stir in the greens: The heat from the stew should gently wilt the leaves. Top with the thinly sliced fennel top and fronds. Serve hot in bowls with warm crusty bread for dipping.
Recipe by Yewande Komolafe for NYTimes Cooking