This weekend we just laid low. Hubby was enjoying his football and I…. think I was reading. Since I didn’t grow up here, I wasn’t too familiar with football. I know, that is so un-American not to be a football fan. Even my BFF Elly has become a football fan, and she did not even like sports during high school. And as much sports as I was involved with during high school, in my old age, my only sports involves chasing the cats around the house. For some reason I just lost interest in sports. I don’t know why. Well I know, because I switched my interest to something else, like, cooking and baking!
Anywho, we really didn’t do much. Even in our cooking, we just let the crock pot do the job for us. Hubby found Paula Deen’s Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs and it was awesome!
Beef short ribs, according to Wikipedia are “cut from the rib and plate primals and a small corner of the square-cut chuck.” Well, it did not satisfy my curiosity and I don’t know a cow’s intricacies that I would know what the plate primals is. So I looked elsewhere for more information and found this blog! It was described very well in plain English, and it gave an explanation as to why this particular cut of beef is called Beef Short Ribs. “It is called the short plate, and the ribs are called short ribs not because they are short in length, but because they come from what is called the short plate. The short plate is located right in front of another inexpensive, chewy but flavorful cut, the flank steak, and just behind another favorite cut for barbecue, the brisket.” Now that, my friend, I understand. :)
So, this is a piece of the Beef Short Ribs.
This is another one…
And another one…
And another one… pretty hearty looking eh?
As I just found out recently, the simplest food is usually the best food, and so it was the same case with these Beef Short Ribs. The other ingredients involved were celery, carrots, onion, potato, salt, pepper, pepper and beef broth. Sounds like a basic stock recipe right? Paula’s recipe asked for the chicken broth, but we substituted it with beef broth. Might as well go all the way! :)
First Hubby seasoned one side of the Short Ribs with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Then he browned the Short Ribs on medium high heat, seasoned side down.
The other side got seasoned at this time.
Within about one minute, Hubby turned the Short Ribs over to brown the other side…
Look how good it looks even with just that one minute of browning!
Meanwhile, we heated up the beef broth so that the crock pot didn’t spend energy in heating liquid up, and it could concentrate on cooking food!
Then the Short Ribs got turned sideways and browned some more…
Then the other side…
And finally the last side…
All these extra steps… aren’t you curious why we did what we did? Well, I did a google search about browning. Browning is also called the Maillard reaction. (I know, I thought about the Mallard ducks when I read it…, but, trust me, this reaction has nothing to do with a wild duck, except if you’re browning a wild duck! :)) According to to the Accidental Scientist: Science of Cooking, “The Maillard reaction occurs when the denatured proteins on the surface of the meat recombine with the sugars present. The combination creates the “meaty” flavor and changes the color.”
Apparently browning releases the magic in food, it releases its flavor and aroma, in addition to making the meat look good too. You know, like the perception that someone with tanned skin looks healthier than someone with pale skin. It’s the same concept here with food. Except, “browned” meat does taste better than the “unbrowned” ones. It has that crusty, burnt, bitter – sweet taste that most people like. So, that’s a little bit of the un-scientific story of browning.
After all that, we put the Short Ribs into the crock pot.
Then, we poured some beef broth into the pan, and using a wooden spatula, I released all those brown bits and flavor off the pan…
And dumped it into the crock pot, along with the beef broth that we were heating earlier. We closed the lid, set the crock pot on high and went about our own way.
I went ahead and cleaned up the veggies. I peeled the carrots using this vegetable peeler. This is another hand me down since college and it is one of the best things I have ever had. If you don’t have a vegetable peeler, you have to get yourself one.
I cut the celery and carrots into chunks, and quartered the onion.
Then I brushed the potatoes really good, and cut them into chunks too.
About two hours before dinner time, we dropped the veggies into the crock pot. Yes, for those who are very keen in seeing picture and thinking about the amount of food – we had to split them into two crock pots. I guess we have to upgrade our crock pot – it seems like every time we cook something, we have to use both of them!
The last step was to add a thickening agent into the crock pot. We scooped out a cup of beef broth…
Dropped in some corn starch…
Stirred it and poured it into the crock pots and stirred again… Don’t you think the liquid inside the measuring cup reminds you of “the Starry Night” by Van Gogh?
And then!!! Dinner was ready!!
I served it into a bowl… The Short Ribs starring at me and it seemed like it was saying “eat me…”
The broth was very sweet and savory, the beef melted on my tongue, the vegetables were tender… It was as hearty as a dinner could be. Another perfect winter night meal. Go, I know you want to make it for your dinner. You won’t be disappointed. :)
Print recipe here.
Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
Recipe adapted from: Paula Deen
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 12 hrs
3 pounds beef short ribs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
48 oz. Low sodium beef stock
5 ribs celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 2 inch pieces
8 red potatoes, quartered
1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Loaf or crusty bread (optional)
Rub the outside of the short ribs with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Warm up the beef stock in a medium pot pan. In a large skillet over high heat, brown short ribs on all sides. Transfer ribs to a slow cooker making sure you get all the juice and brown bits from skillet. Add the beef stock, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. Continue cooking on low for 4-6 hours. Salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, remove one cup of liquid from slow cooker and whisk in cornstarch. Add mixture back to cooker and stir. Serve in bowls with a thick slice of crusty bread.