Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Braised Asian Beef Short Ribs (crockpot)

c During finals my mother took pity on me and my poor nutrition habits and bought me a crockpot, hoping that the easy and time friendly recipes would help me get some of the nutrition I needed during the pizza binges of the last few weeks.  However, it remained unopened until today, when I decided to cook these short ribs that have been sitting in my freezer for the last few weeks.  
My cute little crockpot:

Short ribs are pretty cheap (about 3.99 a pound in some grocery stores) and taste delicious when slow cooked over a couple of hours.  I say that because all the short ribs I've eaten in restaurants have been delicious and tender--let's see how mine come out before I extol the virtues of the short rib!  Suffice to say, well-cooked short ribs are delicious.
Why has it taken me so long to cook these ribs?  Well, for one thing, I've been looking for the perfect recipe.  I wanted something delicious that I could put over noodles or rice, and chop up and put into a delicious sandwich.  I scoured the internet and put together this recipe from a few asian braised short rib recipes I found (Anyone who knows me knows how much I love any asian food!).  The recipe below consists of the ingredients I liked from a number of different recipes.  This is also, as I discovered, a three day process so try this out when you don't want something to eat right away and you have a little patience!

Day 1:
Make the marinade and take the frozen short ribs out of the freezer to defrost.  (Put them into your fridge)
Mix together:
1 cup soy sauce (I did half low sodium, half regular)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 splash of orange juice, or up to about 1/4 cup
5 cloves chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh chopped ginger
2 cups water
A squirt of sriracha
1/2 cup brown sugar
Your marinade should look like this:
Let the flavors meld together overnight in your fridge

Day 2
Take the defrosted or fresh meat out of your fridge and brown the meat on all sides in a hot pan with a bit of vegetable oil.
Throw the meat into the crockpot with the marinade.
Don't touch it for 8ish hours. 

When it's done, the meat will literally be falling off the ribs.  I couldn't help myself--I had already eaten dinner but I had to try them fresh out of the pot.  They were DELICIOUS.  But, sadly, I held off and stuck them in the fridge, along with the sauce, which I put into a separate container.  The separation of sauce and meat is what turns this into a three day recipe.  Yes, you can sit down and eat the meat and delicious sauce in all its wonderful glory.  However, the short ribs give off a ton of fat when they cook and if you refrigerate the sauce overnight, it's easier to take the (thick) layer of fat off of the sauce and then reheat the ribs.

They looked like this after 8 hours in the crockpot:

After I took the ribs out, I realized exactly what I wanted to eat them with.  At first, I had wanted to make a complete meal, with chinese noodles and baby bella mushrooms.  Unfortunately, because of class schedule, I realized a large meal was infeasible and I just wanted to eat this delicious mess on a sandwich.  With, obviously, asian-ish accoutrement.  So, before I went to bed, I thinly sliced green cabbage, yellow onion (because it's sweeter than red onion) and chopped up some garlic.  I put this in a container with rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil, a bit of sugar and honey, and a touch of sesame oil to sit and marinate overnight.  (Use those ingredients in whatever proportions, I just add a bit of each until I like the flavor).  I also added a touch of sriracha for kick.

Day 3
After you've skimmed the fat off (ew) put the sauce and ribs in a pot and gently heat them up.  
Skimming off the fat:
When the meat and sauce are in the pot, break up the meat with a fork and it'll look something like this:

Heat up some really thick and crusty bread and assemble the sandwich!

I am not sure I've ever made something so delicious before!  I added a touch of chili mayo, the slaw and the beef and it turned out perfect.  It's messy, sweet, spicy, vinegary and mmm.  I can't wait to try this again with other marinades and other meats.  

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