Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Savory Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Living in Manhattan isn't easy. You work A LOT so that you can afford the crazy sky high rent  and then by the time that and the basics (student loans!) are paid there isn't much left with which to indulge. I'm primarily in charge of grocery shopping and menu planning in our home so this is an area I look to for conservative spending. We eat a LOT of grass-fed ground beef ($6 per lb) as well as some chicken, bacon, canned salmon or maybe a filet of fish to shake things up. If it's clean and cheap it's getting served for dinner. This being the case, we don't get to eat much steak these days. When the Food Emporium was going out of business we stopped by the usually overpriced "gourmet" shop on the Upper West Side to snag a bargain. Happily, everything was discounted including meat so I grabbed up the last of the lamb as well as a pack of beef short ribs. Originally these were intended for a recipe from Well Fed but I got tired of waiting to amass the various ingredients and just went for it!

Now, as tends to be my style, there aren't exact measurements going on. Truth is, I didn't expect this to be a recipe worth sharing so I was just doing a quick cook up before rushing downtown. Honestly, you just don't need exact measurements for most recipes. As I was discussing with Stupid Easy Paleo, baking may be scientific but cooking is ART. It's a creation, unique, subjective to taste and almost entirely without rules (except, you know, don't get food poisoning). So here's what I did, a scoop here and a dash there. Bonus: the ingredient list is everything that you're sure to have in the pantry or fridge! Try it out  the next time you happen upon a sweet meat deal:

You'll be using two dishes for this one. The first is a skillet where the seasoning and browning is accomplished. I used a hefty scoop of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, got it nice and hot, then placed the ribs in, Salt and Pepper the raw sides before their turn in the oily hot tub. This process took about 10 minutes as I gave each of the 6 sides of the ribs a chance to brown. Towards the end of the process I sprinkled on Red Pepper Flakes and dried Thyme leaves. 

Fun Fact: heating herbs and spices helps release their full spectrum of flavor

Next comes the slow cooker. I covered the bottom of the basin with a small sliced Onion as well as a few peeled and cut organic Carrots. Place the short ribs on top of this veggie bed and make sure to pour all of that gorgeous coconut oil and newly rendered fat into the mix as well. Using half of a can of organic Tomato Paste and 1/2 cup Water that have been stirred together, pour it on top of the ribs. Toss in two Bay Leaves and a few Garlic Cloves, I had 6 left so that's what went in to the melange. 
Now for the easiest bit! Set the timer for at least 3 hours to as much as 5 hours and walk away. When you come back all of those herbs will have mixed together to create a heavenly smell in your kitchen, the fat and tomato sauce mix will be dancing together and the ribs will be in a state of thoroughly cooked-ness. At 3.3 hours our ribs were falling off of the bone but the meat was firm yet tender. If you want it to melt away in shreds then leave it be for a few more hours. Personally, we enjoyed being raucous cannibals with the chunks. I'd been liberal with the red pepper flakes so there was a nice warm burn that came at the end of each bite without being super spicy and the defining character of the dish. All of those carrots will be delicious so make sure to eat those up as well. To increase the veggie load these will be great with smashed cauliflower or maybe a sweet potato with some melted ghee. Since J had made some spicy. Eastern seasoned cauliflower we used that as a quick side plus an organic green salad of spinach and kale. Twas YUMMY, easy and a fun mix up from our routine. Let me know how this one works out for you and what modifications you made for your family's dinner. Eat well~*

Ain't she a beauty