My sister Sylvia and her husband Wayne are here from Canada for a visit, so I wanted to cook something special for them. Sylvia loves mushrooms; I recently found a recipe for Mushroom Lasagna; so upon their arrival last night, I thought it would be the perfect welcome meal for them. Paired with a big, baby greens salad, it was delicious.
But, OMG, I spent three hours in the kitchen doing preparations just to compile ingredients to put in the baking dish! I was so consumed by following the directions of the recipe that I couldn’t hold a conversation until the pan was in the oven. I really felt like it defeated the “welcome” I had in mind. Throw into the mix that I am fighting a cold – my head is thick and my thoughts, uncooperative. I know this: if I make the lasagna again I will have it in the oven before guest arrive.
And, I tell you this story because – This is why I like EASY when it comes to meal preparation. Like the beef ribs recipe I devised last year. A little prep, a long slow cook and Tah-dah! Lots of time to visit with guests, gaze at the sky, … whatever.
The story behind the ribs: I was on vacation in Hawaii and came across beef ribs in the grocery store. The bones had been cut in half, so the pieces were about 4 inches long – much more manageable and appealing than the big rib bones we sometimes find here on the mainland. Though now, when I do find them here, I just ask the butcher to cut them in half. Duh! I love anything with bones (the flavor of the meat is so rich), so I bought them on the spot, sort of like a great pair of shoes – they look fantastic, so you just have to have them.
Cooking is always a challenge for me when on vacation, as most condos provide little in the way of spices or condiments, and I am a bit too frugal to buy what I need, use only a little and leave the rest behind … though if I did, I might create good spice karma, so that when I return or stay at other condos, others might leave behind the same goodies … hum? Anyway, this time we only had salt, pepper, Hawaiian seasoning salt and soy sauce at our disposal, so that’s what I used. I think I channeled my grandmother’s cooking savvy – she mostly used only salt and pepper in her dishes – because these are super delicious
6 (or so) beef ribs, cut in half
1 small brown onion, chopped
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T soy sauce
Salt and pepper
Hawaiian seasoning salt or other seasoned salt
Lightly oil a large cooking pot or Dutch oven (Pam spray, if you have it) and heat to medium-high on the stove.
Cut ribs into individual pieces so that there is meat on both sides of the bone; sprinkle with salt and pepper. In the pot, sear the ribs, turning each piece so that meat is browned wherever possible. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes to open their flavor.
Add water until ribs are almost covered; stir in soy sauce.
Note: To add richness to the flavor of the ribs, if you have beef broth on hand, substitute part of the water for the broth. Or, add an OXO cube, if you like. Then decrease the soy sauce to a few dashes.
Bring to a boil; then reduce to low heat, cover and let cook for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Check occasionally, if any ribs are exposed above the liquid, move them around so they are submerged, letting others rise to the top. (note photo here)
With tongs, gently remove ribs from liquid and place on a baking sheet. Use a tablespoon to dribble a little of the cooking liquid (with bits of onion and garlic in it) onto each rib. Sprinkle liberally with seasoning salt, a bit more pepper.
Put ribs under the broiler, using the second oven rack, for 3 to 5 minutes or until nicely browned. (Broiling condenses the juices)
Serve with a side of creamy horseradish and your choice of vegetables. In the picture shown, I served a sauté of parsnips and Brussels sprouts. I know the combination sounds odd, but my husband loves Brussels sprouts and I love parsnips, so I put the two together and they worked wonderfully … sort of like he and I do.
Here are the quick directions for the vegetable sauté, which you could do with any combination of your favorites!
A small pad of butter and teaspoon of oil, heated in a pan
2-3 cloves minced garlic added and cooked for 1 minute
Add vegetables, which have been cut to similar sizes for cooking purposes
Sauté for about 3-4 minutes
Add a bit of the cooking juice from the ribs and cover for a couple of minutes until the veggies are tender
Easy, easy, easy – that’s what I’m talking about!
Eat well. Be happy.