Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Red Pepper & Tomato Braised Short Ribs with Farfalle Pasta

A couple of weeks ago, Duff Man and I were passing through Woodbridge on a Sunday afternoon... so I convinced him that we should stop there to do our weekly grocery shopping.  Muahahaha!

While we were there, I picked up some short ribs.  It had only been about a week since I had been to Dino for Duff Man's birthday and I was feeling rather inspired. After I got home, though, I realized the package was too small (that's not what she said) to make it worth cooking in the crock pot.  I put them in the freezer until I could figure out what I wanted to do with them.  

This past Sunday while I was at the Farmer's Market, I stopped by the Smith Meadows ("Grass-fed Meats and Home-Cooked Foods" table and noticed that short ribs were only $5.99/lb--$2 CHEAPER than the grocery store.  Win!  I picked up a pack and decided to make them for dinner yesterday.

I did all of the prep work on Monday Night.

 The cast of characters:

Step 1: Cut a hole in a box.  No wait, that's not this recipe.
Get your Dutch oven screaming hot.  Add some olive oil.  Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and sear the bejeezus out of them.  Be sure to get all sides (1-2 minutes per side.)

Step 2: Remove the short ribs from the pan and set them aside.  Add a diced red onion and a couple of cloves of minced garlic.  Saute until it smells amazing.

Step 3: Deglaze the pan with red wine.  Maybe a cup or so?  (Note: It's a god idea shut the flame off before adding alcohol to the pan.  Eyebrows are cool.)  Use a wooden spoon to scrape all of the delicious bits off of the bottom of the pan.

Step 4: Add a roughly chopped tomato and a red pepper to the mix.

Step...?  I give up.  I'm a conductor, I don't count past four.
Add 2 cups of beef broth and a squeeze of dijon mustard to the pot.  Now, if this had been a Saturday or a Sunday, I would have added the beef back to the pot, covered it up, and put it in a 275°F oven for 5-6 hours.  

Because it was a weekday meal, I added the short ribs to my crock pot instead. 

Then I poured the delicious sauce over top of it.  You want the meat almost entirely covered.  Add some red wine and/or beef broth if you need to.  At this stage, I put covered the pot and put it into the refrigerator overnight.  When I got up in the morning, I plugged in the slow cooker and cooked this bad boy on low for about 8 hours.

When I came home, it looked like this.  Smelled amazing, but looked a little less appetizing.

I picked up the pieces of beef and put them aside in a bowl.  Then I used a slotted spoon to put all of the vegetables in the food processor.

The liquid went into my fat strainer.  I suppose I could have spooned it off, but this was ultimately a little bit easier.  I didn't get a picture, but once the fat had separated, I poured the sauce (except for the fat) into the food processor and whizzed it all up.  Then I added a bunch of fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.

I shredded the beef (which simply fell apart at this point) and cooked some farfalle [not pictured]

The pasta went into a bowl.  I topped it with the beef and then some of the delicious sauce.

The end result was fabulous.  The only issue I had was that the sauce itself was a little thin, so I tossed the sauce in a pan and let it reduce for a while before I added it to the container with the leftovers.

This is a perfect, hearty, flavorful, relatively easy meal that was perfect antidote for today's cool, rainy weather.  If I had all the time in the world, I might have attempted to make some home made pappardelle instead of dried farfalle.  Fresh pasta is definitely on my list of culinary experiments in the future!

Slow-Cooker Red Pepper & Tomato Braised Short Ribs

3-4 lbs short ribs
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 large tomato (or 2 medium ones), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 T. dijon mustard  (I didn't measure, this is just a guess.)
1 cup red wine (again, I didn't measure, I just poured)
2 cups of beef broth (I did measure this.)
salt & pepper
fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems and minced
pasta (prepared to your liking.  I used farfalle, but penne or pappardelle would also be good.)

Heat a pan to screaming hot.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, sear the short ribs on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.  Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute (1-2 minutes) until soft.  Add the red wine to the pan and deglaze (use a wooden spoon to scrape all of the tasty brown bits off the bottom of the pan.)  Add the peppers, tomatoes, mustard, and beef broth, stirring until the mustard is incorporated.

At this point, you could add the short ribs back into the pan, cover it with a heavy, tight-fitting lid, and let it braise in the oven at 275°F for 5-6 hours.   OR you could put the meat and the sauce into a slow cooker, ensuring that the meat was covered (or nearly covered) by the liquid, adding more wine or broth as necessary.  

The mixture could also be refrigerated at this point.  When ready, cook in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours.

Once the short ribs have finished braising, remove them from the pot, shred with two forks, and set aside.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop the vegetables out of the pot and put them into the bowl of a food processor.  Pour the remaining liquid into a fat separator.  Allow it to sit for a few minutes to separate the fat.  Pour the braising liquid (sans fat) in with the cooked vegetables and puree. Add some thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.  (Note: If you still have time to kill before dinner, it would be a great idea to reduce the sauce in a pot on the stove to let it thicken up a bit.)

To serve:  Add hot pasta to your serving dish.  Top with beef and sauce.  Enjoy with a glass of wine (preferably the same one that you added to the sauce in the first place!)

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