The Plight of the Post-Doc


Ph.Dishes - Slow-cooked short ribs with cheesy grits!

That mother nature, she's a tricky one, isn't she?  Why, just last weekend it was downright spring-like, and I was jogging over the Brooklyn Bridge without a care in the world.  Not a week later and it's cold and rainy again, and my calves are freaking KILLING me!!!  Sure it's a drag, but look on the bright side--it's still appropriate to eat rich, heavy food!  There will be plenty of time for grilled fish and whatnot in a month or two, promise.

A couple of weeks ago I made short ribs in the crock pot.  Short ribs, though neither particularly short nor rib-like (DISCUSS), are super cheap and totally delicious, but you really do have to slow-cook them, because they have lots of interwoven fatty bits that need to be rendered off.  If you don't have a crock pot you should go buy one immediately; it is an essential item.  They're like $30 at Target or wherever and they make the best food!  You know those annoying people who, when you compliment their food, are like "Oh, I just threw a bunch of stuff together"?  Crock pots let you be those people!  You are literally about to throw a bunch of stuff together, and it's going to be amazing.

Remember, this has to cook for 8-10 hours, so get it started in the morning, or at least by noon or 1pm.  It's a nice Sunday thing to do.

1.  Chop up some hardy vegetables.  I like to start with a classic mirepoix, which is my favorite way of saying onions, carrots, and celery.  You could also add a parsnip or some mushrooms, but stay away from things like zucchini and broccoli; they'll just disintegrate.  Throw them in the crock pot, toss with kosher salt, black pepper, and olive oil.  Lay a rosemary sprig on top if you have one.

Pretty, but not for long.

2.  Put some oil in a skillet, and turn the heat to high.  Salt and pepper the short ribs, and brown them on two sides.  You're not cooking the short ribs, just sealing in all the flavor!  Just a couple of minutes per side, so they look like this:

See?  Brown!

3.  Put the short ribs on top of the veggies in the crock pot.  Now here's the fun part!  Open up every cabinet in your kitchen, and add whatever flavorings strike your fancy.  At least one should be sort of juicy.  For example, I put in maybe half a large can of whole tomatoes (but I chopped the tomatoes a bit), and probably around a third of a cup of barbeque sauce (sweet style, like Jack Daniels, is best).  You should also add some sort of alcohol.  Red wine is very common, but we were out, so I used bourbon instead.  I found it to be a fine substitute.

4.  Cover the crock pot and turn it to low.  That's it!  You're done, you can go enjoy your day.  It's best if you leave the house because in a few hours it's going to start to smell amazing, and you're going to want to open the lid to get closer to the smells, and you're also going to want to poke and prod and stir, but you mustn't!!  Every time you open a cooking crock pot you need to add 20 min onto your cook time, so just leave it! 

5.  When at least 8 hours have gone by, cook up your grits according to the package directions, but cook them in milk instead of water.  When they're just about done, stir in some butter, and shred as much extra-sharp cheddar cheese (white) as you would like (you would like a lot) into the pot.  Salt and pepper, bien sur!

6.  Spoon the grits onto your plate, and top with the short ribs and veggies.  The veggies will be less identifiable as such, but they're in there, I swear!  The short ribs will have cooked way down, and should now be super tender and falling apart-like.

Yes, this.

7.  You've been waiting all day!  Dig in already!


Comrade PhysioProf said...

You're not cooking the short ribs, just sealing in all the flavor!

You're not actually "sealing in" flavor when you brown your meat before braising. Browning the meat *creates* flavor. Looks delicious!

And it is worth pointing out that you can make this kind of dish exactly the same, except instead of cooking in a crock pot all day, you can braise it in the oven or stove top in a dutch oven at a low simmer for 3-4 hours.

Becca said...

Yes! I meant to say the thing about the dutch oven. That's how they did it on "At home with the Neelys," which is what inspired me to make this dish in the first place. But since I had the crock pot, I figured I might as well stretch it out. Plus, you know, "set it and forget it," etc.

RSB said...

MMmmmm I'm gonna try this!

Anonymous said...

The pictures inspired to get the crock pot out this weekend - no short ribs on hand, but we had quite the yummy pot roast last night! :)

Mike said...

My wife was just looking for a short rib recipe this weekend! We'll try this one. Thanks!

Candid Engineer said...

This looks amazing. I had never had grits before a recent trip to Nashville- and omg, I need to start cooking them at home.

And for ages, I have wanted to find a good crockpot recipe besides, say, chicken noodle soup. Because, you know, I'm one of those scientists who strolls in the door at 7:30pm and can't be bothered to cook a dinner that takes longer than 5 minutes. This sounds great, I'll just have to find some short ribs.

Becca said...

CE--I first had grits at a meeting in NC, and I was hooked. We're talking multiple trips to the breakfast buffet, 3 days in a row. But grits are not just for breakfast! And short ribs shouldn't be too hard to find--we got ours at Costco, where they're something crazy like $2.99/lb.

I too, don't do much cooking on weeknights. J and I both work late and go to the gym after, so dinner for us is usually a salad around midnight. On weekends, though, if I don't have to work, I make up for it big time and cook and/or bake all day! This past weekend I made cookies, tomato sauce from scratch, and then used the sauce for pizza! It was delicious.

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