Just before the winter starts winding down, slow cooked ribs

As February moves along, little hints of spring pop up. The days are longer, the sun is shining a little more and my allergies are starting to rear their ugly heads! Till the end of March we will still have enough cold days to justify keeping the slow cooker on the counter top for making those filling comfort foods.

My friend Naomi told me she had made ribs a few weeks ago, and this inspired me to do the same. So off I went to the butcher and got 3 kg of asado ribs, which are easy to find in Israel in supermarkets and at all butchers. Asado also works beautifully in chamin/cholent. Then I found a recipe in Sharon Lurie’s Celebrating with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife, a recipe book out of South Africa with, as the title suggests, a heavy emphasis on meat. I made her Tuscan Beef Ribs, and with a few adjustments to suit my family’s needs, it was a winner.

Slow Cooked Ribs - not beautiful but very delicious

My adjustment for next time is regarding frying the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. She says that it’s important to fry the ribs so you can deglaze the pan and use that liquid in the slow cooker afterwards. The pan I use is a good non-stick pan and as a result, there’s no residue, so no deglazing. The dish turned out delicious anyway, mainly because of the ingredients in the sauce and the slow cooked meat. So I am skipping the frying part – who needs the extra oil anyway?

One comment: Asado is very fatty and you’ll see when you cook it. So you can make this ahead of time, let is cool and skim as much fat off the top as you can. Because this meat cooks slowly and is quite fatty, it is very tender and reheats beautifully. Mine went onto a hot plate for Shabbat and the family demolished every last morsel.

TUSCAN BEEF RIBS

Ingredients

3 kg (7 lb) short ribs (asado) cut into 5-8 cm (2-3 inch) pieces.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions peeled and roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic crushed

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsely

A handful of fresh basil leaves chopped

A  few fresh oregano leaves chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)

1 800 g (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes

100 g (4 oz) tomato paste

1 tablespoon sugar

1½ cups red wine

2 bay leaves

How to do it

1. In a large skillet or wok, saute the onions in the olive oil until golden. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds then add the parsely, basil, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and wine and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

2. Place the ribs in the slow cooker, add the bay leaves and pour the sauce over the top.

3. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can place the ribs and sauce in a deep roasting pan and bake covered at 150°C (300°F) for about 4 hours, basting every now and again.

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