Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ease meets Heat

I was once again tripping around the kitchen, okay, I was prowling, hoping to find something in the dry and canned pantries that would add some remarkable flavor to dinner without process agony.

This ease-with-food movement is new to me. It accompanied the joyous arrival of our first child. I do not look forward to a day when I can return to several very labor-intensive and carefully choreographed recipes I have been hanging on to since my daughter's birth. When that moment arrives, she will not wish me to hug and kiss her all day, a scenario I can hardly believe, but many seasoned parents swear to me it is the lily-white truth. Stay with me then, in eighteen years, you and I will be well-versed on some really impressive French cuisine. Until then, you will be able to sense the ebb and flow of my husband and our family's presence: The more time I have to move about in the kitchen, the more involved the creations. When they are away, I will be at times shameless with the slow cooker and dutch oven!

Here we are at another of those recipes that will be fast and forgiving. Use more of what you like, less of others. This is not a hard formula and finding your own way to your favorite balance is part of the fun in life, not just slow cooker, in my humble estimation. I am pleased to take part of that journey with you. When you come to the end, taste it (Blushing Rule No. 5) and adjust to the ingredients you like best.

And, to keep you duly updated, our girl on Dancing with the Stars was remarkable, as we knew she would be, because she is a showgirl unequalled. You will need to read some other blog for an objective opinion. This is Marissa country.

Slow Ginger-Chipotle Ribs
North Salem, 2008

I recently used a short rib because I was interested in experimenting with them. I am trying to make them a favorite rib, but having a hard time. This recipe will be great with a country pork or St. Louis rib or frankly, any leaner rib cut. Until I get a handle only beef back ribs and so forth, I will refrain from recommending them. However, you would also have a lovely dish with a 3 1/2 pound brisket. You may substitute ginger ale, certainly, but then also add 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, or even, better a bit of freshly grated.

One chipotle in adobo will lend a little heat, two will be fiery, choose your weapons wisely.

The sauce is lovely just as it is when the ribs emerge, however, I have been known to place a sauce or two in a sauce pan over medium heat and reduce it down by half to concentrate the flavors. Depending on the meat, I might also make it into a legitimate gravy. It depends on my state of mind and, as discussed, on the disposition of said creepy-crawly baby.

1/4 cup olive oil
4 lbs. ribs
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, plus more for seasoning

1 cup barbecue sauce of choice
1 bottle ginger brew
1 bottle beer (the darker the better)
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1 chipotle pepper in adobo (more to taste), finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup (or a bit more) beef stock
2 bay leaves
Pinch of cayenne
1 tbls. dried Mexican oregano

In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cayenne, salt and pepper. Gently dredge ribs in flour mixture being careful to coat evenly on all sides and shaking off excess.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine BBQ sauce, ginger brew, beer, chipotle in adobo to taste, garlic, beef stock, bay, cayenne, oregano. Heat, occasionally whisking, until ketchup and adobo are dissolved and evenly incorporated. Pour mixture into slow cooker basin.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering and very, very hot. Sear ribs, four or so at a time (do not crowd) until evenly browned on all sides. Remove browned ribs and place, carefully, in slow cooker as ready. Add a bit of additional beef stock to cover the ribs in liquid if need be. You will have two batches at least.

Cook on 4 hour setting. When meat pulls easily from the ribs, or a thermometer inserted in the rib reaches 165 degrees, they are finished. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning.

1 comment:

heartnsoulcooking said...

GREAT!!! recipe. I love to cook my ribs in the slow cooker. THANKS!!! Geri