Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rosie Braises Short Ribs And Makes Corn Bread.

 Rosie is making beef short ribs and cornbread today.
You'll have to bear with me
as I don't really have a clear concept of what flavors I want,
so I'm making it all up on the fly.
That means no mise en place.
No coherent recipe.
I will be rambling,
so it should be fun since I don't really know where I'm going.

I knew from the git-go
that I wanted some smoky flavors in there
... so I consulted my inventory list
in my vast, spacious, enviable walk-in pantry  
tiny hall closet.
And truth be known, there's no physical inventory list;
however, I recently cleaned out said closet
to a state of near immaculateness
and I know everything that's in there.
It's all in the steel trap between my ears.
I grabbed bags of pasilla and guajillo dried chiles.

Dry roast a passila and guajillo on both sides
over medium low heat,
 pressing with a wooden spatula,
 until they become very aromatic.
Do not let the chiles burn, else they become bitter.
And I shot that picture before I stemmed and seeded the chiles.
So stem and seed your chiles.
They're going to be processed.
Pour in water to cover, bring to a boil,
then turn off and let the chiles steep for thirty minutes.

Pour chiles and steeping liquid into processor.

Process away!
Set aside.

I kosher-salted and freshly-ground-peppered my short ribs,
then heated a pan and a tablespoon or so of peanut oil
over medium heat and seared the ribs until nicely browned,
about 5 minutes each side.

Remember not to crowd your pan.
I seared in two batches, 4 ribs at a time.

Place seared ribs in Dutch oven.
Have your oven at 300°.

While the ribs were searing,
I prepared my aromatics:
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 TB tomato paste
1 TB oregano
1 tsp cumin seeds

Rosie Tip #987:
Don't be tempted to buy those
expensive squeeze tubes of tomato paste just for the convenience.
When you have a recipe that calls for small amounts of paste,
freeze the rest of the paste in the jar in ice trays,
then pop out into freezer bags.
That way you'll have individual 1 TB servings of tomato paste.

Add the aromatics to the ribs
and pour in the processed chiles.

Add water to cover.

Then I decided to be crazy and cut up the rind of one orange,
being sure to remove any pith (white part on the inside - it's bitter).
Add the peel and juice of one orange to the pot,
cover the pot, and place in a 300° oven.

This is going to cook until it's falling off the bone tender.
Mine went for 5 hours.

While this was filling the house with wonderful aromas,
I went outside to do a little yard work and met a new friend.
He has no collar.
He's the cutest, sweetest little fella.
With inclement weather approaching,
I was worried about him,
so I posted his picture on
 Colington Harbour Residents Facebook page.

He stayed for hours.
I named him Buddy.
We were all ready to go to Pet Smart
the next day for a bath, haircut, de-matting, trim,
shampoo, blow-dry, mani-pedi,

Mr. Hawthorne is NOT liking this turn of events.
To appease him,
I printed out a picture of my Buddy
with "Found" and my phone number on it
and was getting ready to take it up to TJ's and post it.
(Convenience store right outside the harbor.)

That's when I saw a man pushing a stroller and walking his dog.
Thinking he might recognize the dog and know who belongs to him,
I asked him about Buddy.
I described a little black and white Shih tzu.
He's the owner and "Poo Ti"
or whatever the hell he named the poor dog
had gotten away and he was out looking for him.
Hell's bells.
So he came in and TOOK MY BUDDY AWAY!
I HATE it when that happens.
That all happened yesterday
and damn if I'm not tearing up today.

Bake to the braise.
 After 5+ hours of braising,
the meat is falling off the bone.

The meat was very fatty too,
so I want to get that grease out of the sauce.

I removed the meat from the Dutch oven
and poured the liquid into a shallow container
and refrigerated it.
The fat and the collagen from the bones
 will solidify/gel in a layer on top.
Simply scrape off that layer,
then reheat the rest of the liquid for serving.

Coagulated layer on top.

 Remove it.


 While the ribs were a-braising,
I started on my skillet cornbread
which Mr. Hawthorne likened to his Mama's.
High praise indeed.
 Rosie's Skillet Cornbread
2 TB Crisco
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten

Heat oven to 375°.
I'm using a large toaster oven.
If I were cooking this in my big oven,
I'd crank it up to 400°.

Whisk together cornmeal, flour,
salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Melt Crisco over medium high heat
in an 8-inch iron skillet.

Pour buttermilk into flour mixture
and stir until well-combined.
Stir in melted Crisco, then eggs.

Pour batter into iron skillet over medium heat
and cook about 3-4 minutes to get a nice crust.

Place in oven and cook 30 minutes
or until toothpick  in center comes out clean.
 Cool on rack.

 As I said, falling of the bone tender.
Rich, aromatic, just plain good.
A hearty meal - perfect for the weather we're having.

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