Sunday, October 23, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef Shortribs with Red Wine Mushroom Risotto

The ultimate comfort food to me is meat that falls off the bone with the tastiest gravy and a creamy, starchy side to go along with it.  I serve it with one or two vegetables along the side, usually a combination of our favorite green veggies: broccoli, asparagus, salad, and/or brussel sprouts.  I cannot take credit for the short-rib recipe, but is the easiest recipe ever!  And don't be intimidated by the idea of making risotto at home - it is much easier than you think and cheaper than ordering it from the restaurant.  Enjoy!!!

Slow Cooker Short Ribs
I followed this recipe exactly, except that I seared the short ribs first.  I sprinkled the ribs with salt and pepper and seared each side in a hot frying pan with a little olive oil.  We found short ribs at BJ's for $3.69 a pound, versus $5.99 at the local grocery store, so you can get a great deal if you have time to shop around.  I have also refridgerated them overnight to skim off the fat, and eaten them the day of - just be sure to skim off as much fat from the top as you can.  It depends on how much of the "Gravy" you want to consume.  Either way, these are YUMMY!

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs of BeefFrom Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker CookbookServes 4

1 cup red wine [I used an Italian table wine]
2/3 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds beef short ribs
2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped

Combine first six ingredients (through black pepper) in the slow cooker and stir. Add the ribs, submerging them in the sauce. [In my oval, this required cutting the ribs into one-bone widths, then dunking each end in the sauce. I cooked them with the bones positioned upright.] Scatter the onions over the ribs, cover, and cook on low until the meat starts to separate from the bone, 7 to 9 hours.

If you can, refrigerate the ribs and sauce separately overnight. Not only will the flavor improve, but you’ll also be able to discard a shocking amount of congealed fat. If you must serve right away, I suggest pouring the sauce into a fat separatorfirst.

Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto
Typically risotto is made with white wine, but I made this version with red wine to go better with the flavors of the short rib recipe.  Feel free to play with the recipe:  white or red wine depending on your meal, different veggies (just pre-cook them and add them in the last 5 min of cooking), different proteins.   The last risotto I made was with roasted red peppers and asparagus and I served it along with herbed pan-seared chicken cutlets.  I've even added shrimp with the last dose of stock and let them cook along with the rice to make a shrimp, sundried tomato, and asparagus risotto.  Use your imagination and do anything your little heart desires.  Enjoy!!!

2 T olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup ARBORIO rice (must be arborio - its more expensive, but totally necessary)
1/2 cup wine (I used red with the mushrooms in this recipe, but I usually use white.  Just make sure it is a dry wine, not sweet, such as a pinio grigio or a cabernet savignon)
4-5 cups of hot stock, beef or chicken depending on your protein
1-2 cups vegetables  (I used one cup of chopped assorted mushrooms sauteed with 1 T butter)
1/4 parmasean cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Over a medium heat, heat olive oil and sautee onions until translucent.  Add rice and toss until coated in oil and heated through.  Add wine and stir until wine has absorbed into the rice.  Now comes the stock - add 1 cup at a time and stir often until absorbed.  This process is what creates a creamy risotto.  And its ok to step away from the stove, just keep an eye on it so it doesn't become too dry before you add your next load of stock.  After you've added the last dose of stock, add your veggies and wait until most of the liquid as absorbed or until your desired consistency.  Take the risotto off of the heat and add the parmasean cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve!

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