One thing I’ve learned doing this blog: food styling is hard. So don’t let the slipshod photo above deter you. This is an amazing recipe that came together one rainy afternoon last weekend. This is done with beef ribs, but I suspect the flavors would be just as good if you substituted some rich porcini mushrooms for the beef.
I was inspired by a new cattle farmer–Holding Ranch–who’s shown up at our weekly farmer’s market. They’re a terrific small operation, and right now they’re carrying beef and chicken. In the spring they’ll have lamb and pork–at the time when the sheep and pigs are actually ready to slaughter. Yes, it’s true, meat should be seasonal like everything else we eat. To give you an idea of scale–they butcher one steer a week to bring to market. The beef is terrifically expensive, so a difficult purchase even for me to make these days. However, I’m committed to buying from them, which will mean less meat, less frequently, which is a good thing, of course.
The first of my purchases, one rainy Sunday, was about a pound of beef short ribs. I think I paid around $13 for them, and I wasn’t really sure what I would get inside. When I opened the package, I found 4 good sized ribs, which was easily sufficient for our family. Beef ribs have a good amount of meat and fat on them, and when they’re braised, with other things you really don’t want to eat a lot of them. (Okay, you might want to, but you don’t need too.)
I took stock of my garden and refrigerator and the ribs, which were just crying out to be braised–which is basically a slow, long cooking in liquid after browning the meat and aromatics on the stove top. What I came up with: Guinness Braised Beef Short Ribs with Wild Mushrooms, Tomatoes, White Beans. Actually, I had cooking a big pot of cranberry beans, but I forgot about and they burned, so at the last minute I added a can of white beans instead to give body to the stew.
The meal was an enormous hit with us and the kids. And the meatless leftovers provided over 3 lunches for me over the week. Pretty good for $13 + the cost of the vegetables.
Guinness Braised Beef Short Ribs
For each 1 lb of short ribs:
medium yellow onion, cut in half crosswise, then lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (you don’t want the onions to dissolve in the braising)
4-5 medium carrots, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped in quarters
2 sprigs rosemary
beef broth or stock
1 can Guinness
1/4-1/2 oz dried wild mushrooms
8 oz white beans
1. Reconstitute mushrooms in boiling water.
2. In a large (enameled) cast iron pot brown short ribs in olive oil until nicely brown all over. Remove from pan.
3. Add a few tablespoons or so (as needed) to the pan and sautee onion, garlic, bay leaf and carrots until the onions are soft.
4.Add about 1/2 the can of Guinness and stir until most but not all of the liquid evaporates. Drink the rest of the Guinness.
5. Return the meat and any juices to the pan.
6. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms. Carefully pour the mushroom-soaking liquid into the pot–but be very careful not to dump in the grit.
7. Add the rosemary springs and then pour in enough broth or stock to cover everything. Okay, so this part makes it more like a stew and less like a braise….
8. Cook for a few hours, until the ribs are tender and nearly falling off the bone. Before serving, stir in the beans and heat through.