Beef Back Ribs with Herb Marinade

July 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been rather lax on the blogging this Summer but not on the grilling! I’ve been experimenting with a variety of recipes but still working on ones that I deem “blog-worthy.” Here is one that I feel makes the cut.

Normally when I make ribs, either pork or beef, I automatically think “Barbeque Sauce” – tangy, orange-red, thick sticky sauce with a little kick. But with the abundance of fresh herbs bursting out of my garden I decided to do something different. The result was a refreshing change. Instead of the sauce being the highlighting flavor, the herbs enhanced the taste of the beef ribs.

Beef Back Ribs

There is a distinct difference between “Beef Back Ribs” and “Beef Short Ribs” – The Back Rib runs along the side of the Ribeye Steak and is usually carved 6 to 8-inches long and has very little meat except what is found between the bones. Of course, that’s why there is so little meat left on these bones, the tender flavorful meat is carved onto the boneless Ribeye Steak. The Short Rib is cut along the Flank Steak and Brisket, is generally 3 to 5-inches in length and has a nice thick marbled piece of meat along one side of the bone, which makes them perfect for braising.

You can bake or grill the ribs for this recipe. I chose to cook them for a shorter time than some recipes you may find because I found the longer cooking time dried them out or over crisped the edges and made them too chewy. With the shorter cooking time the meat will still stick onto the bones a little but the meat will still be tender and full of flavor.

3 ½ lbs (about 8 ribs) Beef Back Ribs
2 Tbls. Garlic, chopped
1 tsp. each – Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Oregano, fresh chopped
2 Tbls. Lime Juice
2 Tbls. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbls. Port Wine
1 tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Salt
2 Tbls. Olive Oil

In a bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, lime juice, Worcestershire Sauce, Port Wine, black pepper, salt, and olive oil. Stir or whisk until combined evenly.

Beef Back Ribs Herb Marinade

Rub the marinade all over ribs and place in a platter or Ziplock bag to marinate overnight or for at least six hours.

Beef Back Ribs

OVEN METHOD: Preheat oven to 325° and line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place ribs in a single layer on pan. Pour any residual liquid from platter or Ziplock bag onto ribs.

Beef Back Ribs

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The ribs should be well browned but not burnt and the meat will pull away from ends of the bone. Remove the pan from the oven and cover with a piece of aluminum foil for 15-30 minutes. This will soften the dry ends of the ribs and help the meat retain the juices.  Serve while still warm.

Beef Back Ribs

GRILL METHOD (using a gas grill): Heat the grill to 450°. Place the ribs on the grill and lower the burners to low, maintaining a temperature of 350° or slightly lower. Cook for 20 minutes with the lid closed, being careful not to over char the ribs. Flip the ribs over and cook for another 20 minutes. Flip the ribs a third time and cook another 20 minutes (the lid should be closed throughout the cooking time). Total cooking time 1 hour. Remove the ribs to a platter and cover with a piece of aluminum foil for 15-30 minutes.

(Sorry, I have not taken photos of the grill method but I will add them soon)

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Beef Back Ribs with Herb Marinade.pdf

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Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs

January 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

Quite a few years ago my sister-in-law was kind enough to give my husband and me a gift certificate to have lunch or Tea at Fauchon in New York City (sadly they are no longer there). We opted to have lunch. Our meals came out and the waitress placed in front of my husband a small white plate with two dainty croissant sandwiches on it. As for me, I had a hearty, steaming bowl of cassolette with a thick chunk of crispy baguette. My husband looked at me and said, “Yup, that’s my girl.”

Why am I sharing this story with you? Because I am once again posting a rich decadent recipe that would be served at the finest of French Bistros – Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs. I can’t help myself, its winter here and there is nothing more comforting to me than the aroma of braising meat, rich with seasoning wafting from the oven.

To the novice consumer of beef ribs it is easy to become confused with what you find at an average market. Many stores will label all beef rib cuts “Beef Ribs” but there are distinct differences between the ribs carved from the upper portion vs. the lower portion. For example, the Back Rib, which runs along the side of the Ribeye Steak are usually carved 6 to 8-inches long and have very little meat except what is found between the bones. But the cut we’re interested in for braising is the Short Rib, which is generally 3 to 5-inches in length and has a nice thick marbled piece of meat along one side of the bone.  Short Ribs run along the Flank Steak and Brisket.

Short Ribs are the ideal cut for braising but the meat along the rib is wonderful cooked medium-rare. Some markets will sell Boneless Short Rib Steaks that are great grilled with an Asian marinade or smothered in garlic, olive oil, and herbs.  I’ll probably get into that more in the summer…

For this recipe, select ribs that have a nice size chunk of meat on one side of the bone (1-2 inches of meat). They should also be nicely marbled but not overly fatty.

If you can’t drink it…don’t use it…

When I first started cooking with wine I would buy cheap “cooking wine” that you find on the same shelf as vinegar in the grocery store. I didn’t need to be of legal drinking age as it wasn’t real wine to begin with. When cooking with wine, select one that you would enjoy sipping with your meal. The flavor of the wine will carry through to the final product so you could make the recipe exactly the same way but use two different wines and end up with two very different results.

The same holds true with Balsamic Vinegar. If the vinegar you use in this recipe is very tart and acidic the flavor will carry through. If the vinegar is very sweet or mild flavored, the wine and beef will dominate the taste, which defeats the purpose of using Balsamic Vinegar in the first place.

Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs (GF)

5 lbs Beef Short Ribs
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbls. Olive Oil
1 ½ tsp. Turbinado Sugar (white or brown sugar can be substituted)
8 oz bag (½ lb) Baby Carrots
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
7 large cloves Garlic, whole with skins on
½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Red Wine, such as Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cups Beef Broth, plus 1-2 cups more if there is a lot of evaporation
1-2 stems Rosemary, fresh or 2 tsp. dried
2-4 sprigs Thyme, fresh or 2 tsp. dried
2 Bay Leaves
½ Tbls. Butter
1 pkg. (8 oz) Baby Bella Mushrooms, cut into quarters

Salt and pepper short ribs. Heat olive oil in Dutch Oven or heavy stove-to-oven-safe pan. Be careful not to over-heat, as olive oil will burn at a lower temperature than regular vegetable oil. Sear the shanks until nicely browned. Sprinkle ribs with turbinado sugar. Let ribs sit in pan 1-3 more minutes to let sugar melt into meat. Transfer ribs to a platter.

Preheat oven to 325°. If there is a lot of oil in the pan remove some, leaving about 2-3 Tbls. Add carrots, celery, and garlic.  Sauté until veggies are lightly golden and glazed. At this point the skins on the garlic should pop off. Remove and discard the garlic skins.

Return ribs to pan. Pour Balsamic vinegar over ribs, being sure to drizzle a little onto each rib. Let vinegar boil lightly in pan for about 3 minutes until the pungent scent of vinegar dissipates. Add wine and broth. Sprinkle rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves on top. When mixture comes to a full boil, cover and put into oven. Braise ribs in oven for 2 hours (NOTE: this is just a checking point, ribs will need to braised another hour).

In a sauté pan melt butter, than add mushrooms and sauté for 3-5 minutes.  Add mushrooms to ribs.  At this time add 1-2 cups more beef broth (amount of liquid will depending on how much sauce you would like for the final product). Continue to cook in oven for another hour. Total time in the oven is 3 hours.

Remove ribs from oven and skim off some of the oil from the pan.

SERVING RECOMMENDATIONS: Serve over egg noodles* or with mashed potatoes. The ribs have a nice robust flavor so this dish generally goes best with a bland starch accompaniment.

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs.pdf

* Gluten allergy and intolerance has become increasingly common.  I will not go into detail about the specific symptoms, causes, or differences but I will note beside the recipe titles “(GF)” for those recipes that are gluten free.  Please note that although I have labeled these recipes to be gluten free you must do diligence to review ingredient labels of prepared products to verify that they are truly gluten free. Also consider the side you choose to serve. In some recipes I recommend pasta or bread, which in most cases are not gluten free.

Lamb Shanks with White Beans and Gremolata

January 4, 2012 § 3 Comments

There’s nothing quite like coming into a home after being out on a cold winter day and becoming enveloped in the rich aroma of a braised roast. This dish can be a one pot meal but I usually like to have it with mashed potatoes or a crispy baguette* and a palate cleansing salad on the side.

Lamb Shanks can vary greatly in size, from a half to full pound each. In the US you have the choice of domestically raised sheep or imported from Australia and New Zealand. Those with a delicate palate can tell the difference but in general, domestic sheep tend to be a larger sheep and a little milder in flavor. Whereas Australian and New Zealand sheep tend to be smaller and more earthy flavored. The size and flavor is generally contributed to the sheep’s diet – American sheep are grain fed, thus making them larger in size and milder in flavor, where as Australian and New Zealand sheep are grass fed, making them smaller in size and giving the meat their distinctive earthy flavor. One is not better than the other, it is merely personal preference. I have used domestic and imported lamb and both provide pleasing results in this recipe.

Comments on serving: After braising for 3 hours the meat will melt off of the bone but it will usually stay on the bone until gently pulled off with your fork. I generally estimate one shank per person, although if they are a full pound per shank it will probably be more than one average person can eat. The presentation of a whole lamb leg smothered in the braised beans and veggies, sprinkled with the colorful Gremolata is simply tantalizing. But sometimes it is more practical to pull the meat off the bone and serve it like a stew. Either way, its flavor will linger on your tongue and create fond memories.

Lamb Shanks with White Beans and Gremolata

Lamb Shank, served on the bone, with mashed potatoes, and steamed French beans.  On the side is a salad of baby romaine, topped with red onion and Comice pear and a light balsamic vinaigrette.

Note: Dried herbs are listed in this recipe. If you choose to use fresh herbs adjust teaspoon measurements to tablespoons.

3-4 (about 3-3 1/2 lbs) Lamb Shanks
1 tsp. Rosemary, dried ground
1 tsp. Thyme, dried
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 sm. Sweet Onion, chopped
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced (Shape and size is personal preference.  Baby carrots from a bag work well too.)
9 Garlic Cloves, whole (You can leave skins on, they will pop off when they are sautéed.)
1 1/2 cups Red Wine such as Côtes-du-Rhône, Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti
2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
3 Tbs. Tomato Paste
1 can (28 oz.) Chopped Tomatoes (Recommend San Marzano type.)
1 tsp. Thyme, dried
1 Bay Leaf
1 can (15 oz.) Cannellini Beans (White Kidney Beans)

Gremolata:

1/2 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley, fresh minced
Grated zest of 1 Lemon
Grated zest of 1 Orange
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
1/2 tsp. each, Salt and Pepper

–Preheat oven to 325°. Rub Rosemary, Thyme, Salt, and Pepper onto Lamb Shanks. Heat 2 Tbls. Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven or heavy stove-to-oven-safe pan[1]. Be careful not to over-heat as olive oil will burn at a lower temperature than regular vegetable oil. Sear the shanks until nicely browned. Transfer to a platter.

–If there is a lot of oil in the pan, remove some, leaving about 3-4 Tbls. Sauté Onion, Celery, Carrots, and Garlic until nicely glazed, about 3-5 minutes.

Return Lamb Shanks to pan and add Red Wine and Chicken Broth. Bring to a full boil and add Tomato Paste, stirring it into the liquid until it dissolves. Add Tomatoes, Thyme, and Bay Leaf.

Cover and place into a heated 325° oven and bake for 2 hours. Add Cannellini Beans and add more liquid if needed. Continue brazing for ½ to 1 more hour (total time 2 ½ to 3 hours).

To make Gremolata: Combine Parsley, Lemon and Orange zest, Garlic, Salt, and Pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle Gremolata onto Lamb Shanks when served (amount is personal preference).

Note about Gremolata: Leftover Gremolata is great rubbed onto chicken (whole roaster, split breasts, or leg pieces).  Simply rub onto raw chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake.  Another use is to saute shrimp in olive oil until just done.  Toss cooked shrimp, cooked pasta (any shape, Orzo is great too), red onion, red bell pepper, and Gremolata in a bowl.

For those of you who are like me and like to have an old fashion printed copy of recipes, the below link is to a PDF (minus photos to keep it on one page).

Lamb Shanks with White Beans and Gremolata.pdf

[1] I’ve made this recipe in a larger volume and seared the shanks in a pan but roasted in a large roasting pan covered with foil. Just be aware that the liquid may evaporate quicker so you may need to add more broth or water during the braising time.

* Gluten allergy and intolerance has become increasingly common.  I will not go into detail about the specific symptoms, causes, or differences but I will note beside the recipe titles “(GF)” for those recipes that are gluten free.  Please note that although I have labeled these recipes to be gluten free you must do diligence to review ingredient labels of prepared products to verify that they are truly gluten free. Also consider the side you choose to serve. In some recipes I recommend pasta or bread, which in most cases are not gluten free.

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