Tag Archives: short ribs

Succulent Short Ribs on the Christmas Table (serves 10-12) Super Easy to make!

I know that most households have a big Juicy Turkey on their table on Christmas day but I confess I have never adorned the center of my table with it. My mother never liked Turkey and even thought she always cooked one, the feeling of her not being excited over it rubbed off on me.

Braised Short Ribs

Braised Short Ribs

She grew up on a farm and had an aversion to poultry because she had to kill and butcher so many chickens as a young girl, which in turn led to her aversion to cooking it for her family. Turkey was her least favorite and I think when I ate it at Christmastime I could taste that bad memory of her childhood.

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Every year we get our tree at the same Christmas tree farm (our kids wouldn’t have it any other way!)

Turkey does make an appearance on my table each year but it is always some version of a stuffed and roasted turkey breast. This year I stuffed it with a savory sausage and it was very delicious, however the star of the table was the short ribs braised in a robust flavored red wine.

up close look at this deliciouly decadent dish

Up close look at this deliciously decadent dish

I must admit that I don’t cook red meat as often as fish or chicken (I’m not too fond of the beef industry so I only buy when I can afford organic, grass-fed free range meat. Also, we seem to prefer a “lighter” less complex protein on a daily basis). However, on special days, as in December 25th, the feast demands a richness and decadence that makes the meal stand out above all other days in the year. The unctuous short ribs I cooked was the stand-out dish this year, and as far as my son was concerned was the only thing that needed to grace the table. 

our Tree with its mish mosh of every ornament we have collected ober the years

Our tree with its mish-mash of every single ornament we have collected over the years that absolutely must find a place somewhere!

 They are not particularly Christmassy, so you can make them any time there is a need for something overtly extravagant!

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You will need:

1/4 cup ( and more as required) extra-virgin olive oil

4lbs boneless beef short ribs  – cut into large chunks

salt and pepper for seasoning meat

1 lb pearl onions (white, yellow or red will all work)

1 large (or 2 medium) sweet onions – large dice

1 large carrot – thickly sliced

3 celery ribs with leaves – thickly sliced

1 bottle hearty red wine (I used an Italian Chianti)

4 cups red sauce (recipe HERE or if you are in a pinch for time, use a good quality jarred version – I find that Newman’s Own brand Marinara Sauce is very basic and good for something like this, but feel free to buy whatever you find appealing OR you may have your own basic recipe for a red sauce which you can go ahead and use)

Water as needed

Method:

Preheat oven 375*

1 – Cut meat and dry it with paper towels and place in a large bowl or a cookie sheet. Season well with salt and freshly ground (if you are using a fine ground salt, be careful not to over season).

Season meat with salt and pepper

Season meat with salt and pepper

 2 – Using a large saute pan on high heat, sear the meat in batches in olive oil, adding oil as needed. Do not crowd the pan or the meat will not brown nicely. Remove to a heavy casserole as you go.

Sear the meat in an uncrowded pan

Sear the meat in an uncrowded pan

3 – After the meat is seared, turn the heat down to medium and pour out excess oil. Add the prepared vegetables and saute for about 10 minutes, until beginning to soften.

Add carrots

Saute veggies after searing the meat

4 – Add the wine and the red sauce and bring to a boil. Pour over the meat (or add the meat back to the saute pan if it is big enough. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 3 hours. Add the blanched and peeled pearl onions 1 hour before the meat is finished cooking. If the sauce is very thick you can thin it out with water until you are satisfied with the consistency.

Serve with whatever you like: mashed or roasted potatoes, roasted or sauteed greens beans or a hearty pasta noodle such as rigatoni.

Serve with whatever you like: mashed or roasted potatoes, roasted or sautéed greens beans or a hearty pasta noodle such as rigatoni.

Prepping Pearl onions for your dish

(you can do this the day before or while your ribs are in the oven). Put a pot of water on to boil. When it has boiled, add the onions and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and when cool enough to hand or cold, remove the skin. Set aside until ready to add to your dish.

blanch onions

Blanch onions  – it is easier to remove the onion skin if you cut the skin in the middle somewhere and then peel it off.

We will hopefully do this al over again next year

We will hopefully do this all over again next year

A Visit To Renninger’s Flea Market In Pennsylvania & Short Ribs Braised in Smokey Sauce with Fennel (serves 6)

I went to an oddly curious and interesting place this past Saturday Morning: A Flea Market/Farmer’s Market in Berks county, Pennsylvania Called Renninger’s Antique and Farmer’s Market. It has been around since 1955 and by the looks of things, hasn’t changed much since.

Unctous Short Ribs

Unctuous Short Ribs from Meat purchased at Dietrich’s Country Meat’s at Renninger’s

This Market is in Mennonite country in Pennsylvania where black covered buggies drawn by horses carrying women in bonnets and flowery dresses and men in black hats and suspenders are a common sight.

Renniger's Market

Renninger’s Market: a strange Farmer’s and Antique Market

What’s a Mennonite? – In brief, the Mennonites are a branch of the Christian church, which sprung from the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Their name is taken from Menno Simons, a Dutch convert priest who was at the forefront of the movement in Holland. A Swiss German branch came to North America  (settling first in Pennsylvania) in the 18th century. Although they speak english they mainly communicate in a low german dialect called Pennsylvania Dutch. 

Hex Sign

Hex Sign on the front of the barn at Renninger’s Market (Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Art which began to appear on barns in the mid 19th century – they can be seen as purely decorative or as having a sort of Talisman against bad luck, invoking good health and prosperity.

The Mennonite Christian philosophy is one of pacifism and living simply, but they also believe in embracing the broader community choosing to be part of the larger non-Mennonite population. The Farmer’s market in Renniger’s is filled with food stalls selling everything from Femur Bones to donuts, and a good portion of the food vendors are Mennonites.

A long glass cabinet full of pennsylvania meats

A long glass cabinet full of Pennsylvania meats

Renniger’s began as a Farmer’s market in the 1950’s but in the mid ’70’s the market extended into a place where antique dealers could have permanent spots inside the big L-shaped building, and weather permitting, dealers could set up outside the building to sell their wares on rented tables or from the back of their vans as the case may be. There is a huge Antique Market known as The Extravaganza three times a year and it is a great place to find anything from a modern era chair to a stuffed grizzly bear (in other words, from the cool to the shall we say, less-cool).

Outside Flea Market at Renniger's

Outside Flea Market at Renninger’s

When you walk into the market, the first thing you pass is a busy barber shop beside a guy selling tomb stones (really). Then there is a stall with fresh bread, beside a vendor selling mountains of sweets and candies. Opposite is Dietrich’s Country Meats and this is where I purchased the short ribs for our delicious dinner last night.

Dietrich's Country Meats

Dietrich’s Country Meats (The register is like a giant cash box that never closes, the help preferring to add up money on the paper your meat is being wrapped in).

Dietrich’s have been butchers for 3 generations and their display case was filled with things from mouth-watering cuts of meat like steak and thick-cut pork chops to other items that might be hard to stomach first thing in the morning: stacks of femur bones, pig’s tongue, kidneys, brains, tripe, gizzards, pig snouts and containers of smoked pigs ears.

Cow's Tongue

Cow’s Tongue

They have a shop a few miles away and boost a  “Selection of Freshly Cut Beef, Pork & Lamb Slaughtered right on the Premises!” This was definitely a “nose to Tail” operation and where Dean, one of the grandchildren was more than happy to give me a sample of cooked cow’s tongue (tasted like really strong roast beef), and instruct me on how to cook a raw tongue dish (very important to boil the tongue first and pull off the lining before carrying on – gulp!).

My package from dietrich's Meats

My package from Dietrich’s Meats

I bought a selection of meat which was handed to me in a neatly wrapped bundle and moved on to see what else was of interest. I bought a few vegetables and then made my way down an aisle where a hotchpotch of booth sellers peddled fabrics, tools, old collectible toys, vintage clothing, dusty taxidermy animals, antique furniture, and a hoard of other items, all of it looking like a dizzying pile of confusion in my mind by the time I got to the door that led to the outside stalls.

An Aisle at renniger's Market

An Aisle at Renninger’s Market

It was the same scene outside only bigger! I did manage to find a funny little cookbook printed by a corner grocery store called an A & P from the early 20th century. Since places like this compel you to but something I decided this was the memento to take home to remember my morning here at Renninger’s Antique’s and Farmer’s market this past Saturday.

Cookbook from turn of 20th century with great illustrations (Now sitting atop my piles of cookbooks in the Crappy Kitchen)

Cookbook from turn of 20th century with great illustrations (Now sitting atop my piles of cookbooks in the Crappy Kitchen).

The short ribs were a big hit, and now the only thing left to tackle is the pork tongue I bought in a moment of bravery.

Gee - and he looks like such a harmless old man

Gee – and he looks like such a harmless old man?

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Short Ribs Braised in smokey Sauce with Fennel (serves 6)

You will need:

Short Ribs

Short Ribs

3 lbs beef short-ribs cut into 4 to 5″ pieces

4 tbs vegetable or olive oil

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning meat and to taste)

1 sweet onion, large dice or sliced

1 large fennel bulb, sliced (Bulb only)

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups baby carrots, left whole

2 sprigs rosemary cut in half

1/2 tbs smoked paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

2 tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup tomato puree

1 cup red wine

3 cups chicken or veggie stock (or 3 cups water with 1 good quality veggie or chicken bouillon cube)

Method:

Preheat oven 375*

1 – Season meat generously with sea-salt and pepper. Put large saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add a single layer of ribs to pan and sear until browned on both sides. Transfer to a heavy casserole pot or dutch oven (large enough to hold entire dish).

sear ribs

sear ribs

2 – Pour off grease and add a little olive oil to pan (about 1 tbs) and turn heat down to medium. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary and fennel and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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 Saute onions, garlic, fennel and rosemary

3 – Add the carrots and continue to cook for another 2 or so minutes.

Add carrots

Add carrots

4 – Add the spices and stir (also add the bouillon cube if using instead of broth). Next add the flour and stir until everything is coated.

Add spices and flour

Add spices and flour

5 – Add the tomatoes puree and wine and stir. The mixture will thicken. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Add liquids

Add liquids

5 – Add the remaining liquid and turn the heat up. Let it come to a boil (stirring every now and then). turn off heat and pour over the ribs in the casserole. Cover with lid and place in the oven for 2 hours. Remove and check by inserting a knife into the ribs. If it goes through very easily, it is done. If not, return to oven checking every 10 minutes. Let pot sit for 10 minutes when you remove from oven.

Cook for 2 hours

Cook for 2 hours

Serve with anything you like: rice, boiled potatoes, greens, bread, sautéed greens or have on its own.

I served the short ribs with sauteed spinach adn basmati rice

I served the short ribs with sautéed spinach and basmati rice (fabulous bowl by my friends Mike and Naomi of Bandana Pottery)