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The Art of Slow Cooking

>> Thursday, June 14, 2007


As much as I love vegetables and fruits, I do enjoy well-cooked meat. This means occasional medium steak or some lamb chops here or there. But I much prefer slow-cook meat, the type of dish that requires long hours of braising. I love tender and flavorsome meat, and that’s why I own a pressure cooker. With it, my meat stew can be done in a breeze without any fuss. However, I do know the price of convenience is the loss of depth of flavors that can only be developed through long hours of cooking.

Thus, back to basic. I decided to embrace in slow cooking as much as I can. With my time schedule and working commitments, it’s not always possible. But it’s not an excuse to deny myself the pleasure of cooking and enjoying something truly good. After all, I do love experimenting new dishes and flavors. Of course I don’t say quick and simple dishes are no good. Each cooking method, quick or slow, will depend on the ingredients and the dish itself. Life is a balanced of all things, so are cooking techniques...

My very first challenge in the kitchen is a recipe from a truly good and inspiring book – Artisanal Cooking - by Terrance Brennan. It utilizes a cut of beef that is often ignored in fine dining restaurants – shot ribs. The slow, very slow cooking, transfers this cheap cut into something hearty, deep and marvelous. It’s not like anything I have cooked before. It feels like you can bite through different layers of flavors – from the meat to the sauce, and also the lovely orange carrots. A very complete dish for a winter night…

So how did I tackle this dish? Note that it requires at least 1 day of marinate, then 5-6 hours of cooking. I think it all comes down with preparation. Read the recipe carefully and plan ahead, it won’t go wrong. Furthermore, most of the cooking process is done slowly, so we can always do something around the house. (Cleaning and reading was what I did!).

Here’s the recipe that I slightly adapted. I have reduced the amount of alcohol. I know the amount of alcohol seems quite a lot still, but the alcohol contents will be boiled off during the cooking process. So, the kids will love this, too.

Daube of Beef Short Ribs with Olives and Orange-Cumin Carrots

Adapted from this book

Ingredients (for 6 serves as a main course)

Olive oil, as needed

½ cup celery, large diced

½ cup peeled carrots, large diced

Salt

2 bottles red wines

4 head garlic, halved crosswise, excess skins removed

4 pieces boned-in beef short ribs. Trimmed of excess fat

2 sprigs fresh thyme

3 bay leaves

6 flat-leaf parsley, stems attached

1 medium leek, white and green part only, rinsed

Flour, as needed

About 5 cups of beef stock

Orange peel from 1/2 orange, white pith removed

6 anchovies fillets

1/3 cup green olives, halved

2 tbsp unsalted butter

Method

  1. Heat some oil in a pan. Add in onion, celery & carrot. Stir for 10 mins or until softened but not browned. Add in red wine and garlic. Bring to the boil then simmer over low heat for 5 mins to cook out the alcohol content. Cool.
  2. Pour the above mixture over the beef in a large pan. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
  3. Tie the thyme, parsley, bay leaves and leek together. Remove the ribs from the marinade and pat dry. Pour the marinade mixture into a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to the boil. Lower and simmer until the liquid reduces by two-third, about 1 hours.
  4. Heat some oil on a separate pan. Dredge the ribs in flour and sear them. Transfer to the pot with the reduced liquid.
  5. Add enough stock to just cover the ribs. Add orange peel, leek bundles and anchovies. Bring to the boil and simmer over low heat for about 2-3 hours, until the beef is tender and pulling of the bone. Remove from the pot and set aside. (*)
  6. Strain the liquid to another pot. Set the sauce over medium heat, add olives and simmer for 1 hours, skimming any foam and oil. Simmer until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the butter.
  7. Remove the bones from the ribs. To heat it up, dip it into the warm sauce for a little while. Take out and place on serving plates. Laddle the sauce on top (1/4 cup per plate). Serve with orange cumin carrots (recipe below) and some potato mash or creamy baked pasta.

Orange-Cumin Carrots

Ingredients

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

4 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups carrots, peeled and cut diagonally. About ¼ inch thick

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Some honey (optional)

Salt and pepper

Method

Melt butter, add in cumin seeds & stir until fragrant. Add in carrot & orange juice. Simmer & cover until the carrots are tender. Season with honey, salt & pepper.

(*) Note: The meat can be cooked in an oven using a Dutch oven. Set the oven to 325F and cook the beef for 2-3 hours.

***

Hearty and flavorsome, this dish can be added to your family menu for a change. I would like to submit this post to Cook and Eat Meat Event hosted by Arfi. If you are looking for a new way to cook meat for your family, please head to her blog for the round up after 16th June. Please remember red meat is a good source of iron, and eating it in a moderate amount is beneficial for health.

29 comments:

Lydia 9:16 PM  

I really love slow-cooked short ribs -- they become the most luxurious-tasting cut when they've been marinated and cooked forever. Short ribs are becoming much more popular here, even on restaurant menus.

Wendy 9:28 PM  

This sounds amazing. I also love slow cooked meat and will definitely try this out in the colder months.

Truffle 9:45 PM  

Sounds delicious and what stunning presentation! I'd be delighted to be presented with this in a restaurant.

Rachel 9:58 PM  

that is so pretty! it is hard to make meat look pretty but you did.

Patricia Scarpin 10:21 PM  

Anh, what a beautiful dish - João would love this food!
I use my pressure cooker a lot - actually, many of us Brazilians do. It's a blessing when you don't have much time and still want something delicious for dinner/lunch.

Most of the times when I cook beef in the pressure cooker I add a bit of beer or dry wine to make it more tender.

Anh 10:27 PM  

Lydia, we have the same taste! I actually like slow-cooked meat with bone left in. It's so much more flavoursome... :)

Wendy, it's a perfect dish for our winter month now.

Truffle, thanks dear. I was spending some time to cook and enjoy cooking! :D

Rachel, thank you. The best thing is it tasted sooo good!

Pat, thanks dear. ya, I think almost all guys will love this type of dish! I also love my pressure cooker which I use very often. Just that when I have time, I want to 'play' a bit with the dish! :D

Angie 10:45 PM  

Pal, this certainly looks like a hearty and wholesome dish :)

By the way, is it flat-leaf parsley in the ingredient list?

Kalyn 11:18 PM  

It really does look fabulous. I've been wanting to try cooking something with short ribs myself. They're getting to be quite trendy here on restaurant menus.

veron 11:21 PM  

thanks for visiting my blog. I am a fan of slow-cooked foods too. There's nothing like a stew or pot roast or osso buco. Yum. Your ribs though look so luscious I can just imagine the taste!

Hedgehog 11:38 PM  

that's so pretty. Have you ever slow cooked beef with Guinness?it's splendid as well.

Asha 11:43 PM  

Orange and Cumin!! YUM YUM!!
I love slow cooking too,love slow cookers:)

Mishmash ! 2:06 AM  

you re a food artist....I need some training from you, got some time :)

Shn

Cynthia 6:33 AM  

I like my meat cooked low and slow too for that fall apart and fall-off-the-bone goodness :) this looks so tempting Anh.

Arfi Binsted 8:50 AM  

Anh, it's so great to know you. I love slow cooking and it's just the time for stew and soup here in New Zealand as we're heading towards Winter. I'll put your recipe in my bookmark. Thank you for participating on Cook and Eat Meat event.

Lucy 10:01 AM  

A beautiful, elegant, cold weather meal Anh.

Those carrots look rather good.

Eva 10:16 AM  

That looks truly impressive! I've never tackled anything like that - it always scared me as something too difficult/involved for me to try. Once I've got some courage, I'll try your dish!

Sandeepa 12:40 PM  

I don't eat beef but the dish looks really good. Slow cooked lamb tastes good too but have not cooked it for 5-6 hours, that must have brough out the flavor really well

SteamyKitchen 3:03 PM  

Short ribs are one of my fav cuts - thats a great wintery dish! I'll have to keep this on file when winter comes along !!! :-) lol

Anh 3:24 PM  

Angie, thanks pal. The parsley is tied up with the leek in the bundle! :)

Kalyn, try try! I would love to see your dish. I too love short ribs. They are such an excellent cuts for slow cooking.

Veron, thank you. It's a winter dish that I have always dreamed of.

Hedgehog, thanks for the suggestion, I'll try it!

Asha, I actually made orange-cumin carrots very often. I am a rabbit who loves to chew carrots :D

Mishmash, you are the true artist! All of your food presentation has been very inspirational to me.

Cynthia, we both share the same preference for meat! I like slow cooking since it takes away the meaty flavour which can be too strong for me at times.

Arfi, it's great to know you, too. Thanks for a lovely event.

Lucy, thank you. Yeah, the side dish is really good!

Eva, it took me a long time to tackle this! But almost all dishes in the book (Artisanal Cooking) requires some sorts of long preparation and I just need to try at least one out! :)

Sandeepa, thanks dear. I love slow-cooked lamb, too. Actually my flatmate has been craving for some roast lamb...

Jaden, thanks dear. I love short ribs, too!

Meghan 10:29 PM  

Your photos are beautiful!

burcu 12:47 AM  

Anh, it sounds like a lot of work, yet it looks absolutely fantastic. I've alreay put it on my must-cook list for the winter; it's way too hot for it right now.

Stephanie 3:08 PM  

You've inspired me: I'm thinking about a very slow-cooked lamb shoulder .... rubbed with garlic and sea salt.... and a little bit of smoked Spanish paprika is good too.

Anh 3:59 PM  

Meghan, thank you.

Burcu, I hope you can try it out... :)

Stephanie, your idea sounds so wonderful. I will remember to try it out myself...

Nora B. 4:11 PM  

Anh, that looks very tempting. I have been doing some slow-cooking too, mostly done in the oven, rather than the stove top, in a casserole dish. This slow-cooked short ribs sounds perfect for the current wet, and windy weather we are having and the wait is so rewarding.

sher 4:35 PM  

I so agree with you. I think slow cooked meat is fabulous. The meat is succulent, especially short ribs. You pictures are marvelous, I can almost feel the melting texture of the meat in my mouth. Perfect post!

lynn,  2:02 AM  

I'm not at all familiar with the slow cooking technique. It sounds like it yields a tasty meat worth the wait.

Amy 4:10 AM  

I'm with you, I love slow cooked meat. It's definitely less fussy than getting a steak just right. Even though it's summer here I can still see myself making this dish. Yum!

joey 10:16 PM  

I also love slow cooking! And beef short ribs too :) I actually have a pressure cooker but I never use it because I'm scared of it...all the pressure...I know I should get over this!

Miss Scarlett 8:58 AM  

Wow. I'm a huge carnivore, but for some reason the carrots are what caught my eye here. I just recently discovered that sauteed carrots are heavenly - now it's time to start playing around with different recipes. This will work for me! Nice job!

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