I usually make Short Ribs in a dutch oven, but there’s something very liberating about preparing a dish (brown the meat, sauté the onions …) , and then allowing everything to cook while you tend to other things. Not only that, it frees up space in the oven for whatever else you have to cook, which is very helpful when it’s one of those big meals.
If you have a slow cooker, dust it off and use it … now. If you don’t have one, do yourself a favor and invest in one. They are available at all price points and most work equally well. The main differences between the more expensive ones and the less expensive cookers are the timers, the size and the heating gauge. Having a timer may not seem important, but if you want to use your slow cooker while you’re not home, consider a timer. A smaller cooker with a timer is a wonderful gift for a university student — my guys will both attest to that — they came home many a cold day to hot chili waiting for them!
When I ordered these ribs from the butcher I asked for lean and meaty ribs, but failed to clearly specify that I wanted the ribs short, only about 2½-3″. When I opened the packages I started laughing: sitting before me on the counter were huge ribs, about 6″ long and half a pound each! Needless to say, I used them and afterward everyone agreed that on the next go-round the same jumbo ribs should definitely be used.
I came across this recipe in the most recent Fine Cooking Magazine (Spicy Short Ribs with Lime and Basil). If it’s a challenge to find the Lime Marmalade you can substitute with a different citrus Marmalade (Lemon, Lemon-Lime or Orange). The resulting ribs will be the same; tender and delicious, just with different flavors. However, if time allows, you can also make your own Lime Marmalade with limes, sugar and water.
SPICY SHORT RIBS WITH LIME AND BASIL – serves 8
I have doubled the original recipe since I was serving seven — and we love leftovers!!
2 tbsp Grapeseed oil
6 lbs bone in Short Ribs
1 ½ large Red Onion
Fresh Red Chilies – I used 1 sliced Fresno chile and 6 whole Thai Bird (which are quite small but very firey!)
6 Garlic Cloves, coarsely chopped
1 x 6″ piece fresh Ginger, pealed and thinly sliced
2 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp ground Allspice
½ tsp fresh grated Nutmeg
1 cup Lime Marmalade
1 cup Low-sodium Vegetable Broth
¼ cup low-sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
½ cup Fresh Basil, finely chopped
Kosher Salt and fresh Ground Pepper
Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed skillet.
Add some of the ribs to the skillet in batches – do not crowd the pan – and brown. Repeat until all the ribs are browned.
Reserve in a bowl.
Add the onion to the skillet and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
Add the chiles, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, nutmeg and ¼ tsp kosher salt.
Cook 1 minute then add the Lime Marmalade. Stir until the marmalade is melted.
Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the broth, soy sauce, ½ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp pepper and browned beef ribs, including any juice from the bowl.
Cover and cook until tender, 6 hours on high, or 9 hours on low heat.
When fork tender, transfer the beef ribs to a serving platter. Strain off any fat from the sauce and pour sauce into a pot on the stove.
Add the vinegar, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 5-8 minutes.
Stir in chopped basil. Cook one minute more.
Pour over Short Ribs and serve.