Sunday, May 21, 2006

Recipes for the Week

So, this week I am focusing blog posts on new recipes that won’t take a lot of your time. While I normally try to do my weekly cooking on Sundays, to help relieve the pressure of cooking each night, I do realize that approach isn’t for everyone. So this week, I am testing four different recipes. The ingredients should be readily available to most everyone (I found everything at my local Safeway). Prep time—actual time slaving—is in the 30-minute range for each (although some of the recipes do cook for longer than that).

Tonight’s recipe, special for Sunday dinner, is Short Ribs in Coffee-Ancho Chile Sauce. The preparation of the sauce and pre-cooking of the short ribs took just about 30 minutes. Then they went into the oven for 3 hours. Kind of like that commercial tag line, “Set it and forget it.” No turning, no stirring. Gotta love it.

4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded
2 cups boiling water
1 medium onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from chipotles)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons salt
6 pounds beef short ribs
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Soak ancho chiles in boiling water for 20 minutes to soften. Pat ribs dry and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and teaspoon of pepper. Heat oil in large skillet and fry 4 at a time, browning on all sides, for about 5 minutes. Transfer ribs to a roasting pan that will snugly fit all ribs. Cook ribs in batches until all are browned.

While ribs are browning, put onion, garlic, chipotles, adobo, syrup, lime juice and 1 teaspoon salt into blender. Drain chiles, reserving liquid. Add softened ancho chiles to the blender and puree.

Once the ribs are browned, put ancho sauce into the fry pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups of the soaking water and the coffee and bring to a boil. Pour over the short ribs. Cover with foil, place pan in the oven and cook for 3 to 3 ½ hours.
Serve with creamy polenta, mashed potatoes, or rice.

I rarely cook with short ribs. They used to be a cheap cut of meat until restaurants and food mags started featuring them. Then they got somewhat pricey in my area, so I pretty much ignored any recipe using them. But this recipe with chiles and coffee caught my eye. The prep was easy, the cooking was easy. Once I pulled it from the oven, the meat was just about falling off the bone. You do have to skim the grease out of the sauce, but leave a little in, as it has some kick to it.

Everyone thought the short ribs were tasty and they did have a kick. Probably not suitable for the average under-14 crowd. More of an adult food. I served it with plain rice, but I do think that polenta would be a better choice as an accompaniment. The recipe serves 6, but the original recipe mentioned that the dish was better after a day or two, so it can make a good leftover. Good thing, as two of my children were out of town this weekend, leaving just the three of us to make a dent.

I definitely think this is worth trying. Might work for an informal dinner party, as you can enjoy your guests as it cooks. Let me know what you think…

Upcoming recipes this week include: Ligurian Shrimp Stew, Warm Lentil Salad with Sausage, and Creamy Corn Polenta. Mmmmm, can’t wait.

1 comment:

Ivonne said...

I love it!

While I have always enjoyed coffee and especially espresso, I don't cook with it often (other than in desserts).

This recipe poses the interesting challenge of using coffee in savoury recipes. I have to try this one!