Sunday, November 9, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs...

The effects of cold weather is instantly warmed with a home cooked meal done in a slow cooker. Other than soups and stews, slow cooker meals are high on my list in comfort! And dinner can't get better than tossing everything in the convenient crock pot, and walking away to let it do its magic... especially on a work night or on a busy weekend! You come home to the wondrous aroma of a hot, well-executed meal ready when you are, but without the heat of all the cooking and running around just before. And big batch cooking can't be beat in a large slow cooker- perfect for a leftover meal the next night! 

With my all-time favourite beef short ribs recipe, there is a bit to prepare and time spent before you set it and forget it, which makes for a more suitable weekend meal. The smoky savoury flavours and vegetables marry beautifully in the long slow cooking... making it what I call a perfect no-frills Sunday dinner with the family!

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
Makes 8 servings (reduce the recipe by half to serve four)

6 lb. (2.8 kg) beef short ribs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
7 thick slices bacon, chopped
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp. dried thyme

1 lb. white mushrooms, sliced
2 cups beef broth
5 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
green onions and parsley, chopped for garnish

Season ribs with 1/2 tsp. each of the salt and the black pepper on a baking tray to make it easy. 

Heat a little oil in a large pan on medium-high and sear the ribs, turning once, until well browned about five minutes. Transfer to a large slow cooker.

In the same pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove onto plate. Drain excess fat from skillet. Add onion, garlic, carrot, thyme and remaining salt and pepper; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about five minutes. Add to slow cooker along with bacon. Sauté mushrooms on medium heat until browned about five minutes. Add on top of the mixture in the slow cooker.

Use a splatter screen to reduce flying hot oil.

In the pan, whisk together broth and tomato paste; bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender about seven to eight hours. If you have time, you can give an occasional stir every couple of hours. Although not necessary, I like to rotate the ribs so that the ones on top gets to fully immerse in the cooking liquid too.

Transfer ribs to a large serving dish; keep warm.Skim fat from liquid. Whisk flour with 1/4 cup water; whisk into liquid. Cover and cook on high until thickened about eight minutes. Pour over ribs in the serving dish or transfer the ribs back into the slow cooker set on warm and pour the gravy over top. 

Don't be surprised that you can skim off a cup of oil from the surface. Don't worry... it aids in locking in all 
the flavours and making the meat moist, and you're removing most of it anyways.

I prefer to serve out of the warming slow cooker.

Baked or mashed potatoes or steam rice are great partners for serving these delicious, juicy fork-tender ribs. A sprinkling of green onions and parsley, and of course your favourite hot sauce are perfect finishes to this incredible dish your entire family will enjoy!

Also try my Slow Cooker Jamaican Oxtails for another delicious fork-tender beef meal done Caribbean-style!

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