September Staples includes using up the frozen meat. It appeared there were two huge briskets, short ribs, a standing beef roast and some boxes of Omaha steak hamburgers, which are my emergency rations for any occasion. Sounded like time for a party to make barbequed brisket (coming to your food blog soon), but, in the meantime, the two small packs of on-sale short ribs caught my eye and out they came.
I love short ribs and they have been sort of a trendy entrée for a while, but I also find them 1. full of fat and 2. pricey, pricey. When they’re on the cheap, I’ll grab some, try and cut out some of the fat (useless—just figure on pot roast calories that day) and fix them braised in beer or wine with onions, served over sticky rice with a plate of garlicky green beans on the side. Great for a winter crock pot when you’re busy all day.
It wasn’t winter, but it had cooled off enough to want something more substantial than fish and salad. (We did eat outdoors in the “cool, cool, cool of the evening.”) And who doesn’t love a reason to raid the wine cellar of some cookable AND drinkable red wine? I also cook for therapy and to keep busy sometimes; cooking is good for that and baking is even better. The day I went to cook the ribs, I had a pretty rough morning personally and it threatened to knock me low; I needed to cook to free my mind and heart to consider new endeavors. (Blessings abound; the next day I saw “Julie and Julia” and saw further possibilities in life.) Cooking is so…..
Let’s do something I don’t usually do with these ribs…. I went over all of the ways I’ve made them. My friend Rick loves them any-old way and I think I’d made them for our wine group a time or two just simmered all day long with lots of broth, wine and garlic. Those were boneless ones, even more expensive and, frankly, while yummy, none of them had a lot of meat for the bang. I used them for starters and kept some behind in case someone at the dinner party didn’t like fish, the main course. What else? I got to thinking about my Dad and his cooking style.
My Dad was from near New Orleans, and, hence, cooked a lot of things with onions, celery and green peppers. In those days, I didn’t see yellow or red peppers; where were they? I grew up with produce grown in my own back 40; those are the vegetables I know best. The red peppers we grew were hot enough to make a child very ill indeed; I stayed well clear of them. Lord, Lord, Lord. Just to think of them makes my mouth burn. But the pepper thing came back to me; I had plenty of peppers in the frig drawer as they had been ten for ten dollars. (My father would have called that highway robbery, but I call it a good deal in a world where fast food hamburgers are usually cheaper than fresh peppers.) At this time of year, my Mom would make pans full of stuffed green peppers, freezing them for wonderful cold winter nights. Why not throw these peppers on top of the ribs and see what happened?
Oh, my; you’ve got to make these. If you don’t have short ribs, cut up some pot roast. Tempting, filling, satisfying and great leftover, reheated. Make a lot. I see no reason why you couldn’t freeze this dish for later if you did a double batch. Here’s how:
3-Pepper Short Ribs
Serves 3- 4
2 T olive oil (use regular, not extra-virgin—not so much olive taste)
Kosher Salt and freshly-ground pepper
8 bone-in short ribs
2 large onions, cut into eighths
4 cloves of garlic whole
4c beef broth, low-sodium, gluten-free or regular
2c red wine (any full-bodied)
2 large carrots, quartered
2 stalks celery, quartered
3 large sweet peppers, sliced (I used one ea: red, yellow, orange)
2t dried thyme
¼ t crushed red pepper
Heat oil in Dutch oven to medium high. Salt and pepper well ribs. Brown them well, about 5 minutes on each side. Stir in onions and garlic; cook five minutes. Pour in broth and wine. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add carrots, celery, peppers, thyme and red pepper. Stir well. Cover and cook until short ribs are tender, about 2 ½ hours. Spoon off as much fat as possible or strain the cooking liquid through a gravy de-greasing measure cup. (Get one for Thanksgiving now if you don’t have one.)
Accompaniments: I served this with the juices over mashed potatoes along side a medley of green beans, carrots and mushrooms seasoned with a little more thyme. French bread for sopping juices.
Wine: We liked an inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon with this dish; an Argentine Malbec would also be fine. (Save the good cab for steak or standing rib roast.)
Dessert: Probably not.
Current Reading: Barbara Brown Taylor’s THE PREACHING LIFE and Dorothy Sayers’ THE NINE TAILORS. I thought I had read everything Dorothy Sayers had written and was heartened and hopeful to find this old mystery involving church bells (one of my favorite subjects) that was written in 1934. My parents weren’t even married until ’36! Excellent, excellent reads.
Don’t weigh yourself today.
Sing a new song,