Monday, January 27, 2014

Savory Simmered Beef Ribs

I buy cows.  Well, parts of cows.  Halves, quarters...  It's a good way to go to get high quality beef for an affordable (in the long run) price.  I've always meant to do a post about buying the cow, and I swear, I'm going to get there, but not today.  But it relates to today's post because when you buy a half or a quarter cow, you might get some cuts that you aren't as familiar with, and the best value is to use all the parts.  So, with that in mind, beef ribs.

My vegan friend posted something on Facebook the other day that said something like, "So, you say you are humane because you use the entire animal?  You know who else does that?  The animal."  I get it.  But if you're reading this post after seeing the title, you probably aren't vegan.  And if you are a meat-eater, it really is responsible to not let parts go to waste.  So, on with the recipe:

Beef ribs are tricky.  There's a lot of connective tissue, big bones, not a ton of meat, and they can turn out tough.  My plan of attack is usually to cook low and slow.  It melts down the fat without drying out the meat, and tenderizes everything while infusing flavor.  This recipe is different from most that I post in that, while it's still easy, it isn't quick.  It needs a good solid afternoon to simmer away.

First, get some nice beef ribs.

Cut the ribs apart.  They can be tough, but use the rib bones themselves as a guideline, and you should be okay.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup flour with a teaspoon of salt and some fresh ground pepper.

Dredge the ribs with the flour mixture.  You want them to look nicely powdered, not caked on.  You can skip the flour and just season the ribs, f you are avoiding flour, but the flour helps to thicken the sauce, so unless you have to eliminate it, I suggest leaving it in.

In a large pot that has a cover, pour and heat some olive oil.

Brown the ribs in batches, a couple of minutes on each side.

Remove the ribs and keep them to the side.  Slice up some onions, a stalk or two of celery, and a carrot.  If you have a lot of blackness in the oil in the pot, carefully wipe it out with a paper towel and put in new oil.  Saute the veggies until they start to brown.

Add in some tomato paste and a couple of crushed cloves of garlic and saute for a minute more.

Sorry about all the stuff!
Add some liquid.  It can be broth, wine, beer, tomato juice, I was out of broth, so I used a couple bottles of Lakefront Brewery's Fixed Gear American red ale.  If you're ever in Milwaukee, Lakefront is worth checking out...again, another blog post...  I also added some balsamic vinegar and a little beef bullion.

Add in your beef ribs.  Bring that all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer,cover it, and walk away for at least 3 hours.  Don't abandon it completely.  Check it now and then to see if you need to add more liquid, because you don't want it to all boil away.  But it's pretty low-maintenance.  Also, it will make your house smell like heaven...if heaven includes rich beefiness...which I hope it does.

After several hours, you should be good to go.  Serve them up with a veggie or two and rice or potatoes, or whatever floats your boat.

Sorry that I don't have a plated photo.  You see, there was this Pinterest slash bathroom disaster the time I got dinner on the table, photo ops were the last thing on my mind.  Forgive me, this time.

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