Short Ribs from Prather Ranch
One season it's ox tails, the next it's flat iron steaks and this Spring seems to be all about short ribs. How odd that that cuts of meat can be so trendy! If you've met me you know I'm not exactly a slave to fashion trends, but it's clear I do like a good meal.
I got a bunch of short ribs from Prather Ranch and here's my way with a new favorite.
My new obsession is cooking in clay pots and if you have the appropriate equipment, you do the same. Otherwise a heavy stockpot or an enameled cast iron Dutch oven will work beautifully.
- 9 meaty ribs
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 12 chiles, a blend of anchos and guajillos, soaked in warm water for 12 minutes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tsp Mexican Oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- I had nine meaty ribs that I first browned in a little oil in two batches. If you crowd them, they seem to steam rather than brown.
- Remove from the pot after they've browned and start on the chile sauce. I soaked about 12 chiles in warm water for 20 minutes. This was an even mix of anchos and guajillos. I added the chiles to a blender with garlic and onion, along with Mexican oregano and cumin.
- Blend with enough water to let the blades move and then strain the mixture with a food mill back into the browning fat. If you don't have a food mill, you can use a fine mesh strainer and push the food through with a wooden spoon.
- Discard the seeds and skins that remain. The chile sauce should be thick and almost have the texture of tomato paste.
- Fry the chile mixture in the leftover browning fat for about five minutes. I have taken many shortcuts in my days in the kitchen but this initial frying of the chile sauce is key. The sauce can be bitter and raw no matter how long you cook it if you skip this step. Keep a cover handy has the mixture splatters. Stir constantly.
- Add about a cup of water to the mixture, or enough so that the sauce goes from a tomato paste texture to thick catsup.
- Replace the browned pieces of meat and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about a minute and then turn the flame down low so it's barely a simmer.
- Now leave it alone! I ended up cooking mine for over five hours. When the simmer threatened to become too robust, I placed a heat diffuser (or flame tamer) under the pot. Salt to taste, allowing time for the salt to really mix in before serving. You'll see really beautiful pools of fat rise to the surface and the meat will be falling off the bone.
- You can serve with rice or tortillas, or even use as a filling for tacos.