Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Short ribs before and after

Following the Zuni cookbook, which I no longer have out of the library, I made short ribs braised in Belgian ale. Zuni calls for Chimay. I used Ommegang of Cooperstown. Zuni calls for a combination of ale and stock. I used all ale, about two thirds of a big bottle (the rest I drank, thanks very much). Zuni calls for a plastering of mustard on the finished meat. I skipped this as chefy overkill.

Around four pm I salted the meat and left it on the counter. At ten pm I patted it dry with paper towels and seared it in a smoking hot pan. Then I removed the ribs to the ceramic slow cooker bowl and deglazed with a large onion, chopped, and the ale. I then combined all of these things in the slow cooker vessel with a bouquet garni containing two dried bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and some peppercorns. Zuni calls for white peppercorns, if I recall. I used black. I slow cooked on low until 7:30 the next morning. Bittman once wrote of waking up to the pleasant perfume of slow-cookered honey garlic short ribs left overnight. I suspect the minimalist lives in a two story house, not a one story duplex flat. We were sleeping closer to the meat than would be optimal and the morning whiff of braising was a little much.

I refrigerated the ribs and braising liquid separately, straining out the onions and bouquet. When it was cold, I took the fat off the top of the liquid. Then at dinner time I warmed the short ribs up in a saucepan in their liquid and thickened it a bit with a corn starch slurry (equal parts corn starch and water, about a teaspoon each). I served glazed turnips and leftover Mexican rice on the side. The intensity of flavor was just what I was after. For lunch today I made a hash of the leftovers: rice, turnips, and beef all chopped up, moistened with gravy, and tossed in a hot skillet. The dinner was good and the hash was equal to it.


Blogger Pyewacket said...

I'm with you on the smells of overnight cooking. I use my stockpot to cook quite tasty, nice-smelling things overnight, and when I wake in the morning about fifteen steps from the stove, the odor is not as mouthwatering as one might imagine. Quite unpleasant, actually.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, but this is some good food.

Re slow cooker aromas: I tend to try to time the process for when I'm out at work. What is a little off putting in the morning, is bliss when you come in tired and cold.
It feels as if you have some kind of idealized, entirely undemanding parent, who fixed exactly what you want for dinner.

6:50 AM  

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