Some people claim they can’t cook. They say they aren’t good. I’m a bit biased since I’ve always been able to throw things together or follow a recipe; each yielding pretty satisfying and predictable results. I get that some things take technique (fresh pasta, choux paste, finely dicing anything-I have yet to master this skill) but for the most part, it’s a tried and true series of steps that yield unbeatable (and totally doable) results.
Brownies are almost impossible to mess up, have you ever had a bad batch? Grilled cheese or even Kraft Dinner. Easy, simple steps and always good. Well, for all of you that ‘can’t cook;’ braising will be your new secret weapon.
Braising is one of the laziest and tastiest ways to cook. Brown, chop, simmer and eat. Once you understand the basic principals, it’s hard to avoid the sweet, rich, meaty flavour of a good braised meat. You don’t have to finely dice anything, you can basically use any liquid, and as long as your meat is browned and simmered for at least 2 hours; it’ll be good. It will fall off the bone, leave you with a flavourful thick sauce and your guests will be licking their plates. Unfortunately, this may bump up your status to pro and you may be summoned to cook more than you’re comfortable with. Sorry, but at least you can eat braised meat all the time now.
Beer Braised Short Ribs
Very loosely based from gourmet magazine.com
- 3 tablespoons cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika (not hot)
- 1 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 to 2 1/2 lb beef short ribs, cut into 4-inch pieces
- 2 medium onions, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 tablespoons olive oil*
- 2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)
- 2 celery ribs, chopped (3/4 cups)
- 1 Turkish bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped garlic
- 1 cup (8-oz) coffee
- 1 (20-oz) bottles strong beer, I used Beau’s All Natural Bog Water
- 5-oz beef broth
- 1-2 sprigs rosemary
- 1-2 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
- Stir together brown sugar, paprika, , cumin, coriander, fennel, pepper, salt, and mustard in a small bowl until combined.
- Pat ribs dry and generously coat all sides of ribs with spice mixture. Marinate, uncovered and chilled, 1 hour.
- Heat oil* in pot over high heat until hot but not smoking and quickly brown ribs on all 3 meaty sides (but not bone side) without crowding, in batches if necessary, about 3 minute per side.
- Transfer meat to a large plate, then add onions, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary to pot and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften and caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Add beer, coffee, broth and molasses, then add ribs with any juices and remaining spices accumulated on plate.
- Bring liquid to a boil, uncovered. Cover pot and transfer to oven, then braise until meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Skim off excess fat – I had about 2 cups do not skip this step!- from surface of sauce. Discard bay leaves. You can remove the meat too and reduce the sauce if you wish, I didn’t have a lot left to do so.
*I had a delightful fat cap on my ribs, I rendered that down instead of using oil; you can do the same or use oil, either one works and tastes fine. Serve over mashed potatoes or turnip, or any other tasty side.