I love a good slow cooked dish. I do a bit of prep, bung it all in the oven or slow cooker and just get on with the rest of my day as I wait for dinner to cook.
Whether I’m out at work, going for a long walk or just on an indulgent pub crawl, there isn’t much finer than coming home to a cooked meal. Best of all, it doesn’t matter if I leave the dish cooking for a bit longer than necessary. And this makes slow cooking my favourite method for when friends come round for dinner as it doesn’t matter if any of them turn up a bit late.
Chilli, curry, stew or roasts are favourites of mine, but basically I’ll consider anything meat based. Sure, you can slow cook vegetable dishes, but really? What’s the point? Veggies don’t take long to cook and slow cooking them just destroys all the nutrients.
Beef short ribs are probably my favourite slow cook cut of meat right now. They come in a range of sizes, from around 300g to over a kilo and they’re so tasty. Just cook them until the fat has melted and the meat falls of the bone. I tend to go for at least 3 or 4 hours in the oven, or 8 hours in the slow cooker, but the longer the better really.
My all time favourite short rib recipe is this short rib and oxtail chilli I wrote for Mr Pickles’ blog. It’s stupidly easy, relatively mild (I figure that us chilli heads can always add a little heat when it’s on the plate) and it’s super flavoursome. I’ve cooked it for barbecues, New Year’s Eve parties and family get togethers and it always goes down well!
But, on the basis that I can’t cook the same damn thing every time life hands me some short ribs, I tried another recipe yesterday. I say I tried another recipe, it’s actually one I’ve made before. It’s even one I’ve blogged before, but this time I made a couple of alterations. And, in my book, that means I can blog it again.
So, the original recipe can be found in Smoke & Spice by Valerie Aikman-Smith. It’s a brilliant book by the way. Great for meat lovers as it’s full of marinades and rubs and includes recipes for the more unusual cuts such as short ribs and flank.
Anyway… to cook this at home, you need two fat short ribs, although any slow cook beef cut will work. So brisket or oxtail would also be good options.
Make a marinade from 2 shots of espresso or cold brew concentrate, 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a little salt and pepper.
Coat the ribs with the marinade, place in a bowl and leave in the fridge for as long as possible – anywhere between 6 and 24 hours.
When you’re ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 160C and take the ribs out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
Take a large ovenproof casserole dish and heat a little oil over a low heat. Add a chopped onion, 4 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 finely chopped bird’s-eye chillies, a chopped red pepper and a chopped yellow pepper. Cook until softened.
Add a shot of espresso or cold brew concentrate. 2 tins of tomatoes and a good splash of balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer.
Finally, add the short ribs to the dish, along with any scrapings of the paste left in the bowl.
Transfer the casserole dish, covered, to the oven and cook for around 3-4 hours, or longer.
Alternatively transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for around 8 hours.
Once cooked, lift the bones out of dish and gently pull the meat using a couple of forks. There will be a lot of fat in there and you could chill it before scraping the fat off and reheating.
Serve with rice, salad and grated cheese for sprinkling on top.
This is fabulous – almost as good as my trusty chilli recipe! The coffee adds a little earthiness, but, as I used cold brew, there was’t a hint of bitterness. Peppers were a good addition and I think a few extra veggies wouldn’t hurt – I’m thinking a can of sweetcorn next time. It’ll add a little more sweetness and texture as it should be able to stand up to the long cook.
Another reliable party dish!