Sunday, October 30, 2011

Low & Slow Food - Braised Short Ribs

Slow Food is coming back thanks to the Slow Food Movement and the improvement of crock pots and cookware.

I never had short ribs growing up because it wasn't something my mother ever made so it wasn't something I was familiar with. She would make beef stews using stewing beef and that required slow cooking so I was familiar with the slow cooking process but had never made short ribs until now. Short ribs seem to be the trend of high end restaurants as the hot thing to order right now. What braised short ribs is really is just short ribs prepped in a certain way with certain liquids and vegetables and left to simmer for a long time until the meat breaks down and basically will fall off the bone or just fall apart.

It may not be pretty food in the end but it's packed with flavour and vitamin infused vegetable beef broth.

This is how I did it:

5 strips of short ribs cut in chunks between each bone.
1 large onion, diced
1 parsnip, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of beef stock ( can be in a box)
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of flour
1 tablespoon of tomato paste

How you make it:

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and sear them until browned in a large heavy bottom pot like a cast iron pot with a lid.
Sear the meat in small batches so that they don't steam and get a good sear. Take them out and set aside as you brown them.

After they are all brown toss the onions that have been fine diced into the pot and sweat them out for a minute. Toss in the carrot, parsnip, celery all diced into small pieces into the pot with the onions. Mix well and then add the flour and mix until the flour disappears. Add the chopped garlic cloves and the thyme strips from the stalk.
Add the bay leaf.

Add the tomato paste and stir well.
Add the wine.
Make sure you scrape off the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and mix well into the wine.
Add the beef back into the pot.
Add the beef stock.

Cover and put into a 300F oven and cook for 1-3 hours depending on how thick the meat is and how tender you want it and also how much liquid is left in the pot. If it gets thicker than you like just add some more stock or even just some water and mix well.

The longer you let it cook the more the flavours will develop from the vegetables cooking down and the meat breaking down and absorbing the flavours.

It's not an exact science because it depends on the meat really and how thick it is and how you like the consistency to be.

You can also just dump it all into a crock pot after you sear the beef and just let it go on low for the day while you are out doing errands and come back to a full flavoured bowl of goodness.

Sprinkle the fresh chopped parsley on it at the end of the cooking process so you keep the fresh flavour.

I made it with mashed potatoes to soak up all the gravy goodness. You could make egg noodles, rice or even polenta and it will all soak up the juices and make you feel fully satisfied.

This is a great winter dish and something you can just prep and forget for a while. You can feed a large family or you can freeze it for a quick heat up after work on a cold winter night.

Either way it's going to be tasty and great comfort food.

If you had it at a restaurant I am sure it would cost you between $12-$25 dollars depending on what restaurant you go to. Why not attempt to do it yourself. It just takes a bit of prep work and some time left alone to do it's thing.

You will be very proud to serve this to friends and family because it's not the kind of thing you can get at your local take out restaurant and it will bring you back to the good old days when moms cooked that way for a sunday dinner.

Break out your crock pot and have sunday dinners any day.


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