Last night was cool and tonight is colder still, winter is arriving. That means a near steady stream of kale, bok choi, chard and tatsoi will be in our weekly produce box for the rest of the season, all of which pair really well with these sticky-salty-sweet beef ribs.
For some reason I want to call them Korean Short Ribs, but I'm not sure there is anything Korean about them. So I've gone with the more all encompassing "Asian". The recipe was originally called Lacquered Short Ribs, but that sounds too hard and crunchy, like a box. These ribs are more sweet and soothing, like a warm woolen coat with the smell of pine and spiced pumpkin still clinging to it.
I've been serving these ribs and a side of sautéed greens to my family for a long time now. They are just the thing to warm the house with good smells and get a steaming meal on the table quickly when we arrive home after the sun has set. It's been five years since my first post on this recipe, pulling in "late" after our then kindergarten ballerina's dance class. These days we're more likely to be kept out for soccer, swimming or rock climbing camp. Growing up is good, but sometimes I miss the tutus.
Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs (adapted from Slow Cooker Menus p. 62):
This takes 45 minutes of prep plus minimum 3 hours in the slow cooker. I usually brown the ribs in the morning, but you could probably do it the night before and refrigerate overnight, then start the crockpot in the morning.
Serves 4, with rice and Sautéed Tatsoi and Bok Choy or Sautéed Kale.
3 lb beef short ribs
1 Tablespoon canola (or vegetable) oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions (aka green onions)
1/4 cup minced ginger
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Cut the ribs into pieces so that each one has only one piece of bone in it, salt the ribs generously on all sides. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the ribs on all side. This can take a while, from three to five minutes per side. Make sure they get nice and brown, not just gray or, worse yet, burned. Use tongs to turn them and lean ribs that are prone to falling over against the side of the pan or another, m0re stable, piece of meat.
While the ribs are browning, combine the scallions, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, hoisin, lime juice, fennel seed and pepper flakes in a measuring cup with a pour spout. Stir it up.
When all sides of the ribs are browned, move them to the slow cooker. Add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet, turn up the heat and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Those bits are very flavorful and make a nice pan sauce. Pour the pan sauce into the crockpot when the bottom of the pan is clean. Then pour the liquid mixture (scallions, brown sugar, etc.) on top.
Put the top on the crock pot and cook it on low heat for 6 hours or high heat for 3 hours. Lately I've noticed that the ribs can burn in the slow cooker if left in too long, so be careful of that. I'm hoping it's just because my Crockpot is malfunctioning, which gives me an excuse to get a fancy new model with more precise programming options.
Serve the ribs with Sautéed Tatsoi and Bok Choy or Sautéed Kale.