I was wandering aimlessly through the aisles of Whole Foods yesterday morning, looking for some inspiration for dinner that night.
When I asked my kids on the way to school in the morning, what they felt like for dinner, my 7-year-old paused, tilted his head in thought, and after about 30 seconds of “hummmmm, urrrrr, ummmms” piped hopefully, “Mom, make the big chicken“. “Yeah, mom,” added my 9 old hopefully, “Make the turkey-chicken.” For those of you who have read my earlier post, “Taste just like…Chicken?” they were referring to the local, all natural, organic, fresh chicken that they sell at our neighborhood farmers market. However, as the “chicken lady” only comes to the market on Saturdays which was still days away, looks like we were out of luck.
As I knew that I would be making a “Big Turkey-Chicken” on Saturday, I decided to steer clear of buying any poultry. I meandered through the seafood section and seriously eyed a slab of fresh cod filet. I changed my mind last-minute, as I was just not in the mood for seafood.
I steered my still-empty cart over to the meat department studying all the different cuts of meat in the showcase. Boneless Short Ribs – $7.99 lb. caught my eye. Positioned next to it lay another lovely pile of Bone-In Short Ribs for $6.99. I decided right then and there that I was going to make Short Ribs. The only problem was that I have never cooked this cut of meat before and had zero idea as to what to do with it.
“How do you cook short ribs?” I asked the butcher. He looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Well, it depends if you are cooking the boneless or the bone-in ribs. He went on to elaborate that the boneless short ribs were heavily marbled and would be excellent simply pan seared and served like a steak. Motioning to the bone-in short ribs, he suggested to cook them slowly in a dutch oven or a slow cooker for several hours.
A lady beside me chimed in, “Actually, both would work well in a slow cooker. The bones give the dish a lot of flavor.”
Sold! I bought 1 lb of each and went home.
It’s been a while since I used my good old Crocker. After much trial and even more error with my crock pot, (read my previous post, “Making Peace with my Crocker” for explanation) I have finally mastered the fine art of crock pot cooking.
For those of you who have read my past rants over that ridiculously time-consuming and sloooooooow cooking apparatus, the key to crocking is to just let it sit and stew. Don’t do ANYTHING other than leave it alone the entire time your meal is cooking. Every time you lift the lid off the Crocker, you lose the equivalent of almost 1/2 hour of cooking heat. So, please learn from my mistakes and do not lift the lid every 1/2 hr (as I did with my first experience with the slow cooker). Don’t worry, the food will not run away.
This time, I knew what to do. I carefully unwrapped the short ribs from the brown butcher paper. I then seared the short ribs on all sides until brown and beautiful. Many recipes call for dredging the ribs in flour, however as this is the I Love FOOD Diet and flour is a no-no, I skipped that recommendation. I then placed my freshly seared meat in the Crocker. In a separate bowl, I mixed 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/3 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of hoisen sauce and 1/2 cup of red wine. I poured the dark liquid over the meat and topped it with 3 chopped scallions, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger and 2 carrots. I then pushed the “low setting” button and pried myself away from the Crocker for the next 8 hours.
What came out was an utterly delicious, restaurant quality, rich and satisfying meal. I served the short ribs with roasted cauliflower and liberally poured the juices over the meat and the veggies. Yummy! Finger lickin, lip smackin good. 🙂
Tip: If you want to thicken the sauce, simply puree the carrots and stir it in the crock pot with the juices.
Chow for now!