Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Asian Style Short Ribs

My first slow cooker recipe!! If you don't have a crock pot, don't worry, you can braise this using your stove on low heat. I don't know why I've been having a craving for short ribs recently, but it's been killing me. I was at the grocery store the other day and browsed by the butcher section and they had boneless short ribs, but no bone-in. It was terribly upsetting because I thought I was finally going to get a fix for my craving. Alas, I ended up with pork and made the previous posting (Pork Tacos). Next time I went to the store, I found my bone-in short ribs and this post was created.

  • 3 lbs of Beef Short Ribs
  • 8 Baby Carrots (or about 1-1.5 full size)
  • 1 and a half Stalks of Celery
  • 1 cup (for lack of a better measurement) diced Green Onions
  • 1 medium sized root of Ginger
  • 1 can of Beef Broth
  • 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of Honey
  • 1 tablespoon and a half of Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Sriracha Chile Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons of "Shake & Blend" flour or cornstarch
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Olive Oil

I am making this the night before, I will refrigerate it and then let it cook tomorrow when I am at work. There is nothing like coming home to the delicious smell of dinner with such little work involved. So let's get it started with (Most of) the ingredients for the sauce. For some reason, I had forgotten to put the honey in this picture. It might be due to the fact that I was still debating between honey and brown sugar at this point.

Start by dumping the can of beef broth into your crock pot pan.

Next add the 1/2 cup of soy sauce. It's so dark, you can barely see that I have anything in the pot now but, believe me, I do.

Follow with the rice vinegar.

Then add the hoisin sauce.

Follow with your Sriracha. I know what you're thinking, "How weird! Kenny is using Sriracha sauce. I don't think I've ever seen that before." But believe it. What would a blog post be without this stuff? I'm not a big fan of measuring this stuff because I really don't mind if a little too much slips in ;).

Next in is the five spice powder. It makes any and everything taste a little more Asian.

Now we need something to sweeten up the pot (literally). We are going with the 1/2 cup of honey so in she goes.

Get your celery, carrots, and ginger and cut them all up. They are going to help flavor our sauce. Especially the ginger. I adore the ginger in this recipe. Dice them up so they look like this, then toss them into the pot.

Take your green onions and chop them up. We are going to be working from the bottom up here as we want mostly the white part for this. Add the green onions to the pot. We will use the tops for a garnish at the end, so save those!

Next, get your short ribs out and flip them over bone-side up. I like to score the backs because I believe it helps them to break down during the cooking process. So, score the backs and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Flip your short ribs over and inspect them. If you have any silver skin (a thin, pearlescent membrane) on, you will want to remove that. It will never break down. To do so, slide your knife between the membrane and the meat. Try to get as close to the membrane as possible, as we don't want to waste meat. Then bring your knife forward cutting through until the end. You can then peel back on your loose piece and using your knife with the other hand, remove it completely. Also, if there is any excess fat, remove it now. A little bit is ok, but the large chunks have got to go.

Your ribs should look like this now. Drip a little oil on them and then lightly salt and pepper them.

Get your stove top pan as hot as humanly possible now. We want to brown the outside of the short ribs, but have no desire to cook them thoroughly right now. The best way to brown is intense heat. Do your ribs in batches, because crowding the pan cools down the pan and prevents browning. I had eight ribs, so I did it in two batches. Here's the first.

Flip over when you get a beautiful brown on the meat side. The bone side won't brown, but the membrane on the back will begin to break down, so I cook it for two minutes on the bone side as well.

Remove from heat and toss in the crock pot.

Set the crock pot on low. This will be delicious in anywhere from 6-8 hours. You really can't mess this up. I did this in the morning before work and came home to it looking like this.

I turned my crock pot on rice cooker mode, which basically starts boiling it like crazy. Then, I left the top open to help reduce the liquid. At this point, you can add your favorite thickener. I used some "Shake & Blend" flour, but cornstarch is quite acceptable. About a tablespoon, maybe two. I keep my eye on the crock pot during the reduction phase to make sure that everything is going as planned. While it's reducing, get out those green onion tops you have leftover and give them a nice chop.

Here, you can see that my sauce has reduced and thickened up a bit. This smells absolutely delicious at this point and I am ecstatic that I can finally get to eat it.

This is a dish that is best served over rice (jasmine in the picture below), you don't need anything else. This is such an easy meal, because it takes such little management and the payoff is amazing.

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