Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fall apart short ribs

One of my favorite things to do when I go to the grocery store, is to look for meats that have been marked down for a quick sale.  We are a one income household, so I try to do whatever I can to keep the grocery budget well in check, and as we all know, meat can be painfully expensive.
Apparently, a lot of people feel that way, because I can usually score some pretty good deals by shopping for meats that grocery stores have to unload.  I do our major grocery shopping once every two weeks or so, so I'll make up a menu for two weeks, and clean out our freezer, using this menu.  Meats that have been marked down for quick sale go directly into our freezer, keeping it safe to eat until I'm ready for it.
My latest great deal are these short ribs.  I went for years and years without buying them, because I just wasn't sure what to do with them.  They aren't big pieces of meat, but I'd always heard they needed hours of cooking time, which seemed counterintuitive to me.  But, one day, my husband found short ribs marked down to $5, and grabbed them.  I figured I'd better see what I could do to cook them up and make them good.  I thought I'd try them in my pressure cooker, and wowza, and I glad I did!  They were fall off of the bone tender, and ever since, I have picked them up when I see them marked down!
During one of my latest grocery runs, I found some that had been marked down, so into my cart they went!

Here's what you'll need for my short ribs:
1 package (usually contains 4 ribs) of short ribs
1 carrot, cut length wise, then cut in half
2 stalks of celery
1/2 Tbs dried thyme
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs Kosher salt, divided
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs Tomato paste
1 C  dry red wine

Start to finish time: Roughly 3 hours
Serves 2

You'll start by sprinkling the short ribs with the 1/2 of the Kosher salt while your skillet is heating up, over medium high heat.  
Once the skillet has preheated, add the vegetable oil in and wait until it shimmers (should take a second or two).  Carefully add in the short ribs, and leave them alone.  Let them caramelize for about five minutes.  Do not pick them up, do not flip them, do not touch them.  You want that brown, caramelized flavor to develop, and it's not going to if you keep messing with it.   


 Once you have browned all of the sides, you'll want to drain off most of the oil, so your final sauce isn't really greasy and oily.  That's not yummy.  I just take three paper towels and mop up the extra oil, then go on and throw them around.  That way, I don't have to worry about pouring screaming hot oil into a container.  


You could, at this point, take the tomato paste, beef stock, and red wine, and put them directly into the pressure cooker.  I, however, see all of those tasty brown parts left in the pan, and would hate to leave them behind.  No crispy brown parts left behind in my kitchen!  So, I put the tomato paste in the pan, and let it cook for a few minutes, cooking out the canned taste.  Once the tomato paste has cooked, over medium high heat, for about two minutes, I pour in the beef stock (I use homemade, but use whatever you have on hand), and the red wine.  I let that reduce to about half of what it was, then add it into the pressure cooker pot, with the browned short ribs, carrots, celery, herbs, and remainder of the salt.

When I'm cooking with wine in the pressure cooker, I will cook it down in a pan first, because the pressure cooker won't cook the alcohol taste out of it.  Unless you like the taste of raw wine in your dishes, in which case, go on and add it to the pressure cooker pot.  You're the one eating it!

Here's the tomato sauce sauteing, and the tomato paste, beef stock, and red wine combination just about to start reducing. 

 Here's everything waiting to go into the pressure cooker!
You can see here, you don't want to have the pressure cooker filled up with liquid, just enough to have things mostly covered.  The first time I tried to make short ribs, I didn't have enough liquid in the pot, which wouldn't allow the cooker to build up enough pressure.  It kept cutting off, and for about an hour, I was getting more and more frustrated, until I finally figured out I needed to add more stock.  Then, wouldn't you know it, the cooker worked like a charm! 

After an hour of cooking time, and forty minutes of depressuring time (or you can just use the pressure release valve, carefully), this is what you'll have:

 Ooooooohhhhhhhh yyyeeeaaahhhhh                      
As you can see, I like to serve mine with some Orzo, and don't toss out the carrots and celery!  Those are amazing!!