Sous Vide Short Ribs with Pumpkin Seed Romesco, Fennel Bulb and Saffron Rice

This recipe features ingredients characteristic of the Iberian peninsula. Fennel and saffron unite, creating a classic marriage of flavors



Advance Seared Short Ribs, 1 recipe (4 short ribs).
Fennel bulb, 1 each.
Romesco sauce, as needed.
Kosher salt, 1 Tablespoon.
Butter, 3 oz/90 g.

Parsley, chopped, as needed

Rice, Basmati or your preference, 0.5 cups/125 ml.
Water or unseasoned stock, 1 cup or as per package directions..
Butter, 0.5 oz/15 g.
Saffron, a few strands.
Cream, 1 oz/30 g.





Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Rice cooker or sauce pan with lid, minimum 3 quart/3 L.
Infrared or probe thermometer.

What is Fennel bulb?

Fennel bulbs are widely consumed in Europe and Asia but they just take up space in American markets. The idea of a vegetable that might taste like the black, rope-like candy that many of us gnawed on in our childhoods seems incongruous. Fennel bulb tastes only faintly of licorice and is a great companion for any of a number of proteins.

The celery-like bulb has a crisp texture, very mild flavor and a pleasant fragrance–excellent cooked or grilled, or even sliced razor thin in salads.

Serves 4
Level of difficulty 3


Preheat the sous vide bath to
183 F/84 C.

Cut off the stalks of the fennel bulb and cut it in half. Seal in a heat rated sous vide bag and process for one hour. Shock the package in iced water until it achieves 70 F/21 C and refrigerate at 40 F/4 C until time of service.

Before you continue!

Please refer to the root article on Advance Seared Short Ribs for important details!

The raw state.

Powdered egg white (or fresh) helps create a sticky surface for spices to cling to–again, click HERE for a full explanation.

Seasoned, please refer HERE.

Once seasoned, the short ribs are browned in a skillet. The flavors of the surface treatment cannot penetrate the surface of the protein, but they do add color and flavor to the juices in the bag. More on that later!

Set the heat in the bath to 140 F/60 C and process the short ribs according to the recipe for Advance Seared Short Ribs.

Day of Service.

Make the rice according the directions on the package, typically a scant 2 parts of stock to 1 part rice. We added a pinch of salt and a few strands of saffron.

Slice the fennel bulb thin and lay out on a flat surface.

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Believe it or not, it’s quite tasty at room temperature, just like this. Embrace the habit of pre-heating plates for half an hour or so in an oven set at 170- F/76 C.

Prepare the rice according to the instructions on the packaging–typically a scant 2 parts stock to one part rice. I added a pinch of kosher salt,  a few threads of saffron and then a pat of butter and a dash of cream at the end. Stir carefully so as not to break the grains.

Place the sliced fennel just to the right of the center of the plate.

Put 1 oz/30 g of the rice adjacent to the fennel bulb. I used a cylindrical pastry ring to create the shape in the picture. Stage the plate(s) into the warming oven.

Remove the short rib from the package and harvest the juices.

Clarify using the method explained HERE. 

Measure the volume of the juices and bring to a boil in a skillet.

Add an equal amount of butter and stir briskly as it melts. Continue to cook until the butter has melted. This will create an emulsified lacquer to coat the ribs.

Add the short rib(s) to the skillet. Coat the ribs on all sides with the emulsion.

Place the short rib on top of the sliced fennel bulb. Top with Romesco sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and a quartered cherry pepper (optional).

Serve proudly.


Because of the precise temperatures used in sous vide, food is much less likely to over cook. Because of the sealed environment, it cannot dry out.

After processing is completed, you can lower the temperature to 129 F/54 C and safely hold the packages for up to twelve hours without any noticeable difference in results. This is another feature of sous vide that no other method of cooking/holding can lay claim to.

Norm King






This recipe is great for working people who have a taste for slow cooked, braised dishes but lack the time (or patience) to execute recipes using traditional methods. Even though the short ribs are sous vide processed for 72 hours, only an intermittent amount of monitoring is required.

Once the enthusiast is ready to enjoy this festive concoction, he/she is less than one hour from service if the other components of the recipe are executed while the short ribs are "taking their bath."

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