Help! My Cow is Stuck in the Mud!

Stove top braised short ribs, yuca au gratin, and spicy tomato relish

I don’t know about you, but I love me some tender and flavorful short ribs! They are easy to prepare, only require one pot, and come out tasting like you slaved all day in kitchen cooking, when in fact you spent at most 20 minutes.

Monday was totally a comfort food kind of day in Seattle. Nothing else screams comfort food louder to me, than a pot of hearty short ribs! So, I decided to make my version of a Brazilian favorite, Vaca Atolada - which literally translate to "cow stuck in the mud". Where do Brazilians come up with these names?

I asked my mom about this interesting name and she said that the bones of the short ribs some times get stuck in the yuca - "the cow (shot rib's bone) stuck in the mud (yuca). We're pretty imaginative down south of the equator, huh?!


The traditional version of Vaca Atolada is short ribs and yuca simmered in a rich, flavorful broth. The result is a hearty stew that is typically enjoyed in Minas Gerais - a state in southeastern part of Brazil.

I decided to cook the short ribs the traditional way, but served the yuca as a accompaniment instead.

One perfect bite!

Short Ribs
2lbs short ribs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, diced
1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups beef stock

Season short ribs with salt, pepper and cumin and set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent.

Add garlic and parsley and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add tomato paste and short ribs. Cook until browned.

Add beef stock, cover pot, and cook for about 3 hours

I made a yuca au gratin, with Gruyere cheese. To die for - forget about polenta or risotto, the yuca goes perfectly with the short ribs...

Yuca Au Gratin
8 cups water
2 medium-sized yuca roots
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
2 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil.

Peel and cut yucca into strips about 2" long and 1/2" wide. Add yucca into boiling water, add salt and cook until yucca is translucent and tender, about 25 minutes.

In a baking dish, layer 1/2 of yuca, 1 tbsp of butter, 1/2 of the cream and 1/2 of the Repeat layer in same order one more time.
Place baking dish into preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese had melted and is golden.

The finishing touch was a spicy tomato relish. The spiciness and tanginess of the relish really balanced the richness of both the short ribs and the yuca...

Tomate Apimentado

2 tomatoes
1tbsp balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
1tbsp olive oil
1 malagueta pepper (or red thai chili pepper)
Brunoise the tomato and pepper, add to a small bowl.
Add remaining ingredients and serve.
I am off to the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival on Friday! Thanks to Foodbuzz andMoovision, who chose my Avocado Vanilla Bean Smoothie as winner of the Gourmoo contest and is sponsoring my trip to the festival!


baking.serendipity said...

Best post title ever...I couldn't not see what it was about :) And I'm not let down at all...these ribs look and sound fantastic!

saltyseattle said...

I think a dinner trade is in order:)

thelonelyradish.com said...

I have never made yuca at home. I think this is a great place to start. Sounds amazing.

Lindsay Rudolph said...

Absolutely beautiful! This dish looks amazing. The short ribs look like they have been done perfectly. YUM!

Let's do the Food Samba! said...

Thank you ladies :) it was a delightful dinner!

Richard said...

Congratulations on winning the contest. Hope the festival is a big success.

FOODalogue said...

Funny translations. I love the idea of yuca instead of potatoes or rice and au gratin is better yet!

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

let me know if you do the gourmoo video. beijos