Short ribs are long on flavor

Published 1:48pm Monday, March 11, 2013

It seems that the worst of the winter 2012-2013 is upon us. We had our hardest frost just this past week, so I am still cooking warm comfort food.

In looking for grass-fed beef recently, I found that the ground beef was not available, and I could only get grass-fed in some beef short ribs. I am finding it harder and harder to find grass-fed beef. There is a market out there, but not enough farmers to fill it.

I have never cooked short ribs, but they seemed to be the thing you would do in a slow cooker. They also seem to go well with Asian spices. Winter is the best time to use the slow cooker I believe, since it lends itself to slow cooked stews using tougher cuts of meat. Another way with the short ribs is to braise them. Short ribs braised in red wine are transformed into a rich sauce with little effort. Try these two different recipes with short ribs and I think you will be happy with your effort. And always try to buy grass-fed.

This recipe is taken from Secrets of Slow Cooking by Llana Krissoff.

These ribs can be served as a snack or party dish, hot or at room temperature. To make a main course dish, serve the ribs over steamed white rice, and more of the sauce served over the rice.

 

SPICY SOY-GLAZED

SHORT RIBS

Serves 6 as an appetizer

3 ½ pounds beef short ribs

2 bunches scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1/3 cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup molasses

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup chili-garlic sauce (See note)

¼ cup plum or hoisin sauce

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon toasted-sesame oil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Trim any excess fat or sinew off the ribs. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown half of the ribs well on all sides, about eights minutes total, then remove the ribs to a 4-quart slow cooker (they will fit better in an oval cooker); repeat with the remaining ribs. Pour ½ cup water into the skillet and scrape up all the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Pour the liquid over the ribs in the cooker.

In a medium bowl, combine half of the scallions and all the remaining ingredients except the sesame seeds, stirring until the brown sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the ribs. Cook, covered, on the low setting for four hours, or until the meat is very tender and almost falling off the bones.

In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the sesame seeds, shaking the skillet and stirring constantly until they just begin to color. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

 

Remove the ribs from the sauce and place on a large serving platter or on individual plates. Spoon a little of the sauce over the ribs and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the remaining scallions. Serve.

Note: Chili-garlic sauce is a chunky red-chili sauce that can be found in the Asian-foods section of most supermarkets.

 

From the cookbook Harvest to Heat by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfeer.

 

BRAISED SHORT RIBS WITH RED WINE

(This recipe was shared by an acquaintance of ours from the North American Devon Association, Ridge Shinn, and you can be assured he meant it for grass-fed beef.)

Serves 6

¼ cup canola oil

5 pounds short ribs, preferably flanken style

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large onions, chopped

4 large carrots, chopped

3 cups dry red wine, such as Merlot

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 head garlic, split in half and sliced

½ bunch fresh chives (about ¼ cup), chopped, for garnish

Heat the oil in heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper, then add to the pot and brown, turning frequently, until the ribs are nicely browned and caramelized on all sides, about 15 minutes. (You can roast the ribs in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, turning a few times so all sides are evenly browned.) Adjust the heat if necessary so the meat doesn’t burn.

Remove the ribs from the pot, remove almost all the fat from the pot except about 3 tablespoons, and add the onions and carrots; cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften and are lightly browned, five to eight minutes.

Add the wine to the vegetables, turn the heat to high, and boil until the wine is reduced by about one-half, about 15 minutes.

Return the meat to the pot, then add the thyme, garlic, and 4 cups cold water or beef broth (or more if needed) so that the meat is just covered. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for at least three hours, or until the ribs are tender and the meat pulls away from the bone. Allow to cool completely in the liquid.

Transfer the ribs from the pot to a large serving plate, removing and excess vegetables from the meat; discard any loose bones and fat. Strain the liquid into a medium bowl. If serving right away, press out the liquid from the vegetable solids and discard the vegetables. If not using right away, refrigerate the liquid to allow the fat to rise to the top, then spoon off and discard with the vegetables.

Transfer the strained braising liquid back to the pot, and cook the sauce over medium-high heat until thickened or reduced by one-quarter, about 15 minutes. Add the short ribs and bring to a simmer over medium heat for five minutes to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, portion the ribs and sauce among serving bowls and sprinkle with the chives. This would be good with mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles.

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