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short rib stewI bought about 3 lbs from the farmers market from Hurd Farm (love how its name is a homonym for what they do, herd). I was expecting cute pieces, like you get with Korean short ribs. The package contained 2 pieces, each about 6-8″ square, 3-4″ thick with two ribs each. Short ribs are cousins to the pig’s spare rib. The ribs are huge, not like pork. I tried to imagine how big the source of my dinner was.

Each piece had a nice layer of boneless meat, a thin layer of fat near the bone, and a not-so-thin layer of fat on the opposite end. It also contains muscles (the ones that help you breathe) and tendon that connects muscle to the bone. Because my pieces weren’t butchered into the cute Korean-style short ribs, I removed then from the bone, and I removed some of the fat; otherwise I don’t think I could have cut the hunks o’beef into smaller pieces.

The trick, as with any piece of meat, is seasoning. Be sure to generously sprinkle salt and pepper. And slow cooking. I don’t know how Korean short ribs are so deliciously decadent – they’re flash seared.

The time between the 4th and 5th hour of slow cooking was magical. Just after 4 hours I was nearly in tears. Memories of the many pot roasts that I’d cooked wrong came flooding back. The pieces of beef were not falling apart. The voice inside my head told me to be patient, to give it more time. I’d already decided I’d failed. Epic fail. You can’t buy fresh beef from a local farmer and fail. You can’t buy fresh beef from a local farm and fail. Maybe I cut off too much of the necessary fat.

But then something happened, something wonderfully magical. The slow-cooking elf must have been watching over me. If there was bone on these ribs the tendons should be struggling to hang on. The ribs were tender with a capital t. I served it with fresh pappardelle noodles from our Italian market. “Pappare,” to gobble up, is just what we did.

I’m picking at leftovers as I type. It’s breakfast time.

Short Rib Stew

If you don’t have to juniper berry balsamic, buy some; or substitute with apple cider or red wine.

What you need:

  • 3 lbs boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 tbs evoo (I used my last drops of Devo Olive Oil’s Tuscan Herb EVOO)
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c Devo Olive Oil Juniper Berry Balsamic
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs Spanish smoked paprika
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream and buttered noodles, for serving

What you do:

  • Season ribs ribs with salt and pepper.
  • Heat EVOO in lg sauté pan over med-high heat.
  • Place ribs in pan, cook 5 min, turn and continue cooking 5 min.
  • Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Repeat with remaining ribs.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Discard fat from pan leaving enough to cover bottom.
  • Add onions, carrots and garlic.
  • Cook until onion is soft, about 5 min.
  • Add paprika and stir, about 1 min.
  • Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker.
  • Add stock, balsamic, thyme and rosemary to cooker.
  • Cook on low 4-5 hours, until the meat is very tender.
  • Discard rosemary and thyme sprigs.
  • Spoon off as much fat from gravy as possible.*
  • Serve over buttered noodles.
  • Garnish with sour cream.

*Depending on how thick you like your gravy… I made a roux of 2 tbs water and 2 tbs cornstarch and ladled some of the slow cooker broth into it. Whisked, whisked, whisked and then whisked the roux mixture into the slow cooker.

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