Ugly Produce. Delivered.

Braised Short Ribs with Italian Caponata

Photo by A Cook’s Canvas

Photo by A Cook’s Canvas

Recipe and photograph by A Cook’s Canvas!

When Veronica opened her Imperfect box, she was presented with a vibrantly fresh eggplant, ripe red tomatoes, and celery. She was inspired to make caponata and chose boneless beef short ribs as accompaniment, which she cooked sous vide, though oven roasting or slow braising would give similarly succulent results. As we move into Fall, this is a delicious, hearty dish that is sure to wow!


Short Ribs

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless beef short ribs

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tsp pepper flakes (or ancho chili pepper flakes and a dash of sea salt)

  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes (if you are using sous vide; use 10 if you are braising in the oven or using a slow cooker)

  • 6 sprigs of thyme, washed


  • 1 large eggplant, 3/4” cubed

  • 4 small stalks of celery, sliced

  • 2 medium onions, diced

  • 1 c large green olives, pitted and sliced

  • 2 Tbsp capers

  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar

  • 15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1/4 c olive oil

  • I small bunch fresh basil, sliced thinly

  • Fresh black pepper


Short Ribs

  1. Add short ribs to the vacuum bag and arrange remaining ingredients on top then evacuate and seal.

  2. Cook in a water bath at 165’F for 14 hours. At the end of cooking time, remove ribs to a shallow skillet and pour cooking liquid, tomatoes, and thyme to a small saucepan and reduce by 1/2.

  3. Sear ribs with a butane torch to caramelize, adding a bit of flavorful char.

  4. Plate on top of caponata and spoon generously with reduced sauce.


  1. Heat 1/4 c olive oil in a 5-6 qt ceramic or cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat.

  2. Divide cubed eggplant into batches and fry gently until golden brown.

  3. Add chopped onion, celery, and olives cooking until onions are translucent.

  4. Add capers, tomatoes, sugar and 1/2 of the red wine vinegar and cook for 10-12 minutes on medium-low heat.

  5. Rest for 20 minutes and taste to assess flavor.

  6. If you’d like it a bit sharper add more vinegar; a bit sweeter add a bit more sugar. Serve with short ribs.

Recipes Notes

If using a slow cooker, an additional liquid will be necessary to prevent over-cooking. We recommend adding red wine and chicken broth to the ingredients and cooking on low for ~9 hours before plating on top of the caponata.