Could this sort of thing work with something other than wine? Stock, maybe?
The flavor would be different but the principle of long, slow, moist cooking should work anyway. You might try two cups of beef stock or broth, instead of the wine, and a spoonful or so of beef demi-glace. (A friend introduced me to it by bringing me a jar. I was stymied. What was this brown stuff? It's magic, is what it is, for gravies, soups, stews, etc.) I think if I weren't using wine, I'd definitely use mustard. (I add it by tempering it with a little of the hot juice of whatever I'm cooking--blend it in with a fork or whisk, add a little more liquid, etc, until it's really dissolved in the liquid from whatever it is, and then put it in and stir.) And suddenly I'm wondering if you could use a little grape juice concentrate...what I find wine does is kind of bloom the flavor of the other vegetable ingredients--the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, etc.--and maybe the grape would do that too. Dunno. Experiment. Tell me what happens...(G)
Could be scary. I've never cooked beef, except hamburger and one failed attempt at Ropa Vieja.
Well, start slow. Get a tough piece of meat for long slow moist methods (that's why range feed older animals are ideal, but even young stock has tough bits, some muscle the critter uses frequently. This could be, for instance, a chuck roast. Don't go for prime beef--go for the lower grades (less fat, more muscle.) For ease in handling, cut into chunks no larger than 4 inches by two inches by two inches. You can certainly go smaller. If the meat has a bone in it (a bone-in roast or short ribs) by all means leave the bone in until the meat falls off the bone. Brown its outside in some fat or other. That browning is just to add flavor. Add, at minimum, onion, diced tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, pepper; you can also add diced sauteed celery and carrot, or you can withhold these until the last phase if you don't want them to "melt" to nothing. On the store-bought side, I've read and heard from people that commercial chicken stock is better than commercial beef stock (esp. at the low-sodium end.) And you can use chicken stock or vegetable stock with beef (again, it changes the flavor a little, but not hugely.)
The liquids (in the canned diced tomatoes, chilis, and the stock) should just cover or not quite cover the meat, and the low temperature and liquid help tenderize the meat. So does wine if you use it.
Hm, I'll bet I could do this. I have made good pulled pork.
Yeah, I've tried both low-sodium store-bought stocks, and the beef tasted "tinny." I like my homemade vegetable stock best, but I just used up the last of it.
If you've made good pulled pork, you're home free. Same basic principle, but beef may take longer.
The advantage of the demi-glace (expensive--but you need only a spoonful or less for each use and it keeps years in the fridge...my jar, now finally nearing the bottom, is years old) is that it gives you a good beef-stock flavor.
Another thing--you can always add a sprinkle of mixed herbs (Italian seasoning goes well) or put in your favorites. But I'm much more impressed now with bay leaf than I used to be and have started using it in more beef dishes as well as in all the stock I make.
It might (fingers crossed) actually start to cool down weather-wise in the next week or so, and this really sounds wonderful...
I wonder if I can substitute something else for the Ro-tel, which isn't available here?
Canned diced tomatoes and a small can of diced or sliced green chilis...that would work. Do you have a Mexican grocery anywhere nearby? Or a supermarket with aisles of ethnic foods? (Or can you put a headlock on your grocery store and say "You need to carry Ro-tel...it's a basic food group!")
Some of the major tomato brands are now putting out diced tomatoes with chilis, but (just my opinion) they don't get the ratio right. Then again, you might like them. Hunt's, I think, has something like that.
Would you say, maybe one fresh sliced jalapeno to a standard small can (14oz or so) of diced tomatoes? Or less? Or more?
Australia--you've got a good variety of peppers available. I think the ratio of peppers/tomatoes would be lower than that...you might want to experiment, starting small (you can always add more later in the cooking--the old "easy to add, impossible to remove" thing.) Ro-Tel uses a different pepper than jalapeno (I'm guessing something like ancho or poblano, but it's only a guess), but if you like the flavor of jalapenos that should work.
The way I've described is really more "ribs with sauce" than "rib stew" but you could of course increase the liquid and add potatoes or beans to it.
If you live anywhere near a Hannaford or Price Chopper, I've seen it at least one of those.
Sadly, I'm in Australia. No Hannaford or Price Choppers.
If you or your friends are horribly, agonizingly allergic to pepper, try cinnamon. Same amount.
It actually works, at least in barbecue sauce.
Never had the nerve to use it in tacos.
Um...none of us are allergic to pepper. Pepper is a basic food group where I come from. Cinnamon is a minor food group (and yes, it's good in barbecue sauce, but that doesn't mean the pepper's being left out.)
2011-04-10 01:56 pm (UTC)
Variations on a culinary theme
This sounds very like what we do with venison or pronghorn ribs. Many hunters don't fool with 'em, but they're foolish not to--best ribs I've ever had--no fat at all, and they cook up rich, flavorful, and tender.
We frequently lay the ribs across a bed of chopped up apple, onion, carrots, turnips (whatever vegetables are in the crisper. Jalapenos are a given, and usually I've got frozen chopped red peppers, too, to add.
I also recently discovered that my beloved rice cooker does a wonderful job cooking beans--making adding real, honest to god baked beans almost as simple as opening a can. So corn bread and a cast iron pot of baked beans are standard with the ribs.
Aldi has cans of diced tomatos with peppers, very like Ro-Tel, AND small cans of corn with Mexican-food additions--I add that to the cornbread and a can of the tomatoes to the baked beans (along with the essential onions and jalapeno).
By the way, I hesitate to provide someone I WANT to be working on the next Paks novel something to distracting, but there's a cooking blog site called "Smitten Kitchen" that is a true delight. The recipe in the link to is for Paks. http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/12/garlic-butter-roasted-mushrooms/