Braised Short Ribs #2

Short ribs cost a fortune around here, but hey, who’s better than you? YOLO!! This preparation is an L Stockton special, and is quite good.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ lb. beef short ribs
  • 2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups beef stock

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 275°. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in dutch oven. Sear ribs on all sides 1-2 minutes per side. Do in batches if necessary to avoid crowding. Set aside.
  2. Drain all but 1 ½ Tbsp oil. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary; sauté 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add stock and wine. Return ribs back to pot. Liquid should come at least halfway up side of ribs. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, place in oven and bake for 3 hours, flipping ribs halfway through to ensure an even braise.

Braised Short Ribs

Ingredients

 

  • 3-4 lb lean beef short ribs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 medium onions, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup beer, wine, beef broth (or water)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp water

Preparation

  1. Place short ribs on broiler rack or in skillet and brown to remove fat; drain well.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup flour with the paprika, salt and dry mustard; toss with short ribs.
  3. Place remaining ingredients except 2 Tbsps flour and the water in slow cooker; stir to mix ribs with onion rings (be sure onions are under ribs – not on top). Cover and cook on Low for 8 – 12 hours or on High for 4 – 6 hrs.
  4. Remove short ribs to warm serving platter. If thickened gravy is desired, make a smooth paste of flour and water. Turn slow-cooker to High and stir in paste. Cover and cook until gravy is thickened.

Serves 6.

Beef Fajitas

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tspn ground cumin
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil

Fajitas

  • 2 lb skirt steak, trimmed and cut into large pieces to fit on a grill or broiler pan or in a ridged grill pan
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 assorted colored bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • twelve 7- to 8-inch flour tortillas (recipe follows or store-bought), warmed (procedure follows)
  • guacamole and tomato salsa

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the garlic paste, the lime juice, the cumin, and the oil. Add the steak to the marinade, turning it to coat it well, and let it marinate, covered and chilled, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Grill the steak, drained, on a well-oiled rack set about 5 inches over glowing coals or in a hot well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until it is just springy to the touch, for medium-rare meat. (Alternatively, the steak may be broiled on the rack of a broiler pan under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare meat.) Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  3. While the steak is standing, in a large skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking, add the bell peppers, the onion, and the garlic, and sauté the mixture, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the bell peppers are softened.
  4. Slice the steak thin across the grain on the diagonal and arrange the slices on a platter with the bell pepper mixture. Drizzle any steak juices over the steak and the pepper mixture and serve the steak and the pepper mixture with the tortillas, the guacamole, and the salsa. Spread some of the guacamole on a tortilla, top it with a few slices of the steak, some of the pepper mixture, and some of the salsa, and roll up the tortilla to enclose the filling.

Warming the tortillas

In the oven: Stack 6 tortillas at a time, wrap each stack in foil, and heat the tortillas in the middle of a preheated 325°F. oven for 5 minutes for corn tortillas and 15 minutes for flour tortillas. (If the tortillas are very dry to begin with, pat each tortillas between dampened hands before stacking them.)

In the microwave: Stack 6 tortillas at time, wrap each stack in a big paper towel, and heat the tortillas in a microwave oven at high power (100%) for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until they are heated through and pliable.

Serves 6

Luche Last Supper illustration (detail) from Pale Horse

Hobo Supper

Throwing a “drugstore wrap” in the campfire is a rugged mountain man move.

Ingredients

  • 10 oz venison backstrap (or beef) cut into 2-inch cubes;
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 diced potato
  • 1 small can pineapple, drained, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • cumin, coriander, ginge

Preparation

  1. Tear off a piece of heavy-duty foil three times the size of your pile of food. Place it shiny side up on a flat surface. Put food in the center. Bring up two opposite sides to form a tent, and roll seam over tightly three times. Press tightly along the fold to seal the seam. Seal the other two ends with three tight folds. Add a second layer of foil, with looser folds to protect the inner layer from punctures and keep it clean so it may be used as a plate once opened.
  2. Cook directly on coals about 25 minutes.

Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

Ingredients

For the broth

  • 2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound total)
  • 4-inch piece ginger (about 4 ounces)
  • 5-6 pounds beef soup bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
  • 5 star anise (40 star points total)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 pound piece of beef chuck, rump, brisket or cross rib roast, cut into 2-by-4-inch pieces (weight after trimming)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 ounce (1-inch chunk) yellow rock sugar (duong phen, see note below)

For the bowls

  • 1 1/2-2 pounds small (1/8-inch wide) dried or fresh banh pho noodles (“rice sticks” or Thai chantaboon)
  • 1/2 pound raw eye of round, sirloin, London broil or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (1/16 inch thick; freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced paper-thin, left to soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water
  • 3 or 4 scallions, green part only, cut into thin rings
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (ngo)
  • Ground black pepper

Optional garnishes

  • Sprigs of spearmint (hung lui) and Asian/Thai basil (hung que)
  • Leaves of thorny cilantro (ngo gai)
  • Bean sprouts (about 1/2 pound)
  • Red hot chiles (such as Thai bird or dragon), thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges

Prepare the broth

  1. Char onion and ginger. Use an open flame on grill or gas stove. Place onions and ginger on cooking grate and let skin burn. (If using stove, turn on exhaust fan and open a window.) After about 15 minutes, they will soften and become sweetly fragrant. Use tongs to occasionally rotate them and to grab and discard any flyaway onion skin. You do not have to blacken entire surface, just enough to slightly cook onion and ginger.
  2. Let cool. Under warm water, remove charred onion skin; trim and discard blackened parts of root or stem ends. If ginger skin is puckered and blistered, smash ginger with flat side of knife to loosen flesh from skin. Otherwise, use sharp paring knife to remove skin, running ginger under warm water to wash off blackened bits. Set aside.
  3. Parboil bones. Place bones in stockpot (minimum 12-quart capacity) and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring to boil. Boil vigorously 2 to 3 minutes to allow impurities to be released. Dump bones and water into sink and rinse bones with warm water. Quickly scrub stockpot to remove any residue. Return bones to pot.
  4. Simmer broth. Add 6 quarts water to pot, bring to boil over high heat, then lower flame to gently simmer. Use ladle to skim any scum that rises to surface. Add remaining broth ingredients and cook 1 1/2 hours. Boneless meat should be slightly chewy but not tough. When it is cooked to your liking, remove it and place in bowl of cold water for 10 minutes; this prevents the meat from drying up and turning dark as it cools. Drain the meat; cool, then refrigerate. Allow broth to continue cooking; in total, the broth should simmer 3 hours.
  5. Strain broth through fine strainer. If desired, remove any bits of gelatinous tendon from bones to add to your pho bowl. Store tendon with cooked beef. Discard solids.
  6. Use ladle to skim as much fat from top of broth as you like. (Cool it and refrigerate it overnight to make this task easier; reheat befofe continuing.) Taste and adjust flavor with additional salt, fish sauce and yellow rock sugar. The broth should taste slightly too strong because the noodles and other ingredients are not salted. (If you’ve gone too far, add water to dilute.) Makes about 4 quarts.
  7. Assemble bowls: The key is to be organized and have everything ready to go. Thinly slice cooked meat. For best results, make sure it’s cold.
  8. Heat broth and ready noodles. To ensure good timing, reheat broth over medium flame as you’re assembling bowls. If you’re using dried noodles, cover with hot tap water and soak 15-20 minutes, until softened and opaque white. Drain in colander. For fresh rice noodles, just untangle and briefly rinse in a colander with cold water.
  9. Blanch noodles. Fill 3- or 4-quart saucepan with water and bring to boil. For each bowl, use long-handle strainer to blanch a portion of noodles. As soon as noodles have collapsed and lost their stiffness (10-20 seconds), pull strainer from water, letting water drain back into saucepan. Empty noodles into bowls. Noodles should occupy 1/4 to 1/3 of bowl; the latter is for noodle lovers, while the former is for those who prize broth.
  10. If desired, after blanching noodles, blanch bean sprouts for 30 seconds in same saucepan. They should slightly wilt but retain some crunch. Drain and add to the garnish plate.
  11. Add other ingredients. Place slices of cooked meat, raw meat and tendon (if using) atop noodles. (If your cooked meat is not at room temperature, blanch slices for few seconds in hot water from above.) Garnish with onion, scallion and chopped cilantro. Finish with black pepper.
  12. Ladle in broth and serve. Bring broth to rolling boil. Check seasoning. Ladle broth into each bowl, distributing hot liquid evenly so as to cook raw beef and warm other ingredients. Serve with garnish plate.
  13. Note: Yellow rock sugar (a.k.a. lump sugar) is sold in one-pound boxes at Chinese and Southeast Asian markets. Break up large chunks with hammer.
  14. Variations: If you want to replicate the splendorous options available at pho shops, head to the butcher counter at a Vietnamese or Chinese market. There you’ll find white cords of gan (beef tendon) and thin pieces of nam (outside flank, not flank steak). While tendon requires no preparation prior to cooking, nam should be rolled and tied with string for easy handling. Simmer it and the beef tendon in the cooking broth for two hours, or until chewy-tender.
  15. Airy book tripe (sach) is already cooked when you buy it. Before using, wash and gently squeeze it dry. Slice it thinly to make fringe-like pieces to be added to the bowl during assembly. For beef meatballs (bo vien), purchase them in Asian markets in the refrigerator case; they are already precooked. Slice each one in half and drop into broth to heat through. When you’re ready to serve, ladle them out with the broth to top each bowl.

Makes 8 big bowls.

Pot Roast with Baby Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 3 to 5 pound top beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • Seasoned salt and lemon pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 carrot, whole
  • 1 cup beef broth, low sodium
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 pound new red potatoes
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup boiling or pearl onions
  • 1 cup baby squash, such as pattypan and zucchini
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, stems removed
  • Kosher salt

Preparation

  1. Sprinkle roast with seasoned salt and lemon pepper to taste. Place onion and carrot in the bottom of a 5 or 6 quart crockery cooker. Lay the meat on top of the vegetables. Pour in the broth and Worcestershire sauce. Season with garlic, rosemary and thyme.
  2. Cover and set dial to low-heat. Allow to gently simmer for 5 to 6 hours. Remove the cover and add the baby vegetables around the roast. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and continue to cook covered on low-heat for an additional 1 to 1 = hours.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings