Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Succulent Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs Au Jus...

There is something incredibly alluring and comforting about low and slow-simmered foods-- the intoxicating aromas that fill the kitchen and easy luscious fork-tender eating. With the addition of liquid and lots of time, meat like beef ribs become fall-off-the-bone succulent! And letting a slow-cooker do all the hard-work (set it and forget it) while you're out or busy tending to other things, makes weeknight meals and yes, even entertaining that much easier. You wouldn't believe this tasty recipe uses just a few ingredients-- the meat and herb purchase at the store with other things you may already have in your pantry. The key to the divine gravy (and this recipe makes a lot) is using two soy sauces-- a light soy sauce to season before searing to lock in its umami flavour and a dark mushroom soy sauce to marinate, penetrating its robust flavour notes along with the wine as the acid and tenderizer, and imparting rich colour. 

For a busy weeknight, it has the makings of an easy fuss-free dinner on the table ready when you are. Load up your crock pot and have an extra meal later during the week with the leftovers or pack and freeze (the recipe freezes excellently) for a convenient meal on the whim. Leftovers are even tastier when the flavours have more time to meld.

And you bet it has star-power for crowd-entertaining! When you think about a big gathering, a big oven centre-piece meat comes foremost to mind. But when there's a big hunk of meat monopolizing oven space, how often are we left battling with how to cook, roast or reheat the rest of the meal-- accompaniments such as scalloped potatoes, a casserole, or roasted vegetables? With a slow-cooker doing all the work out-of-oven, you have all the space you need to get all your food cooked and effortlessly timed together :). Start first thing in the morning to allow the meat to marinate and with just an hour of prep, you're on your way to slow-cooker heaven, leaving you lots of room before dinner for last-minute errands, prepping and cleaning before your big soirée! Now that's what I call stress-free entertaining!

The versatility of this slow-cooked meal can't be beat-- casual or formal, luscious beef ribs hold its own when calling for family comfort and has staying power when it comes to evoking memorable meals from your lucky guests, one they will savour for a long time...

Succulent Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs Au Jus
Makes 10 to 12 servings (about 2 to 3 ribs per person)

Prep Time: 1 hour (plus 1 to 3 hours for marinating)
Cook Time: 6 to 7 hours

8 lb. beef short ribs, trim off excess fat
3 Tbsp. Pearl River Bridge Superior Light Soy Sauce

1 tsp. kosher/sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Pearl River Bridge Mushroom Flavoured Superior Dark Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine or white/red wine
2 large onions, halved then sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped or shredded
12 sprigs thyme
5 cups water

green onions, chives, cilantro or parsley (chopped) makes great garnishes

Use your largest slow cooker. For this recipe you will need at least a 6 Quart crock pot.

Season beef ribs with light soy, salt and pepper; sear in large skillet/pan until brown on all sides. Or arrange on foil-lined baking sheet; broil, turning once, until well browned about 8 to 10 minutes. 

Allow beef to cool 15 minutes (drain off any beef juices before marinating). Marinate the ribs in garlic, dark soy and wine for at least one hour up to three hours. 

Use disposable plastic gloves to massage the ribs and make marinating mess-free.

Place carrots and half the onions on bottom of slow cooker. Top with ribs and its marinating juices. Add remaining onions and thyme sprigs on top; pour over with water. Cover, set it and forget-- cook on low for six to seven hours. Keep on warm if serving after cooking.

Remove ribs from the slow cooker onto a large tray. Remove the thyme stems from the liquid. Skim off fat off surface (there could be a cup or more). With a blender or food processor, carefully purée the sauce until well-blended, then return the ribs to the slow cooker and toss with the sauce. Keep on warm to serve out of crock pot or transfer to a large serving platter. Sprinkle with your favourite garnish for presentation.

TIP: Let the fat completely solidify before disposing in your compost.

The carrots not only add sweetness and flavour, it acts as a natural thickener to create a slightly viscous gravy when puréed! No addition of cornstarch needed!

If using a hand-held blender, blend directly into the crock pot with the lid to shield any splatters.
This recipe yields l
ots of gravy for your ribs and to soak your accompanying sides silly!

There you have it-- succulent fall-off-the bone and fork-tender ribs smothered in delicious gravy!

This is a family favourite in my household... I've served the ribs over steamed rice, baked sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes with lots of gravy of course. You could even shred the meat (like pulled beef) and make a delicious sandwich with crusty buns.

There's something to be said about the virtues of a slow-cooker to help out the busy host and as a crowd-pleaser for special occasions. The slow cooker allows for better flavour distribution cooked low and slow without burning the bottom, frees your oven and stove top for other uses and can be left unattended all day... Why not make it an entertaining affair for your upcoming holiday get-together?

Succulent Beef Ribs served with Roasted Vegetable Medley, Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad 


For a list of my other delicious slow-cooker recipes, click here.

NOTE: I am honoured to have been approached by Pearl River Bridge @PRBUSA as a partner to develop recipes using their products. They have been a household brand growing up and they continue to be savoured with my own family as I thoroughly enjoy using their line of products in recipe experimentation and home-cooking. The information I share is completely my opinion, as are all my posts.

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