e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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The Consuming Passion: Cooking

When you look in the freezer and find that a package of meat has a torn corner, there's only one thing to do--pull it out and start it on its way to the table.   That happened to me yesterday, with a package of beef short ribs.   This beef, like all our beef is ranch-raised, range-fed, which means it's lean, full-flavored, and firm in texture.  Until the past year, I'd never been that good at cooking beef ribs, but a recipe in a Williams-Sonoma catalog gave me the right cooking technique for these ribs.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find that catalog (I should cut the recipes out, I know, but I don't.)   I did remember where to start, though.   Given the time of day of the discovery, and the other things going on,  these ribs weren't done for supper last night, and the recipe turned into Overnight Beef Ribs, which we had for lunch today.

Approximately 2 pounds (maybe 2.5) of beef short ribs. 
1 28 oz can of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes & green chilis
1 onion (strong) coarse-diced or sliced
bay leaves (2-3, depending on size)
2-3 cloves garlic
coarse-ground black pepper
red wine (merlot and pinot noir both do well with this)
[next  day] 2 carrots, sliced into thinnish rounds.

Large (large enough to lay pieces of short ribs flat for browning) heavy cooking pot with tight cover.  Enameled cast-iron is perfect; I used a 5 `1/2 quart Le Creuset round pot.

Brown short rib pieces on all sides in oil or bacon fat in the cooking pot.   Add the Ro-Tel, the onion, bay leaves, garlic, pepper and 1-2 cups of red wine.  Cover, and place in pre-heated 300F degree oven for several hours.  At that point, check that all the meat pieces are covered or nearly covered by sauce.  Add a little wine, beef stock or  broth, or water to reach that point if they're not, but don't add more than needed.  Cover again, reduce oven to 200F and replace in oven.  Now let it alone for 6 hours or so.   Check: bones should be releasing from meat, any connective tissue should be soft, meat should be fork-tender. Bring to stovetop, put on low burner, and add carrots.  Simmer until carrots are tender. 

The rib meat will be falling apart, still flavorful; the sauce will be rich.   Serve with a dipping bread (sourdough's good for this) and a fresh green salad.   (If you have hungry teenagers, you can also add potatoes as a side dish.  But ours has grown up and moved out, home only on weekends.)

If you started this in the morning, it would be ready by supper, probably.   But if you've found your torn package of ribs in mid-afternoon or later, it works very well slow-cooked overnight, as I did it, and then it's ready for lunch. 
Tags: beef ribs, cooking
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