Braised Short Ribs

Let your oven do the work so you don’t have to.  So good, so tender and great to share with company.

4-5 lbs. beef short ribs
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground mustard
3 peeled, sliced carrots
1 tsp. celery seed
1 cup water
1 can tomato soup
1 pkg. beef or brown gravy mix

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place the ribs in a heavy Dutch oven or pot with an oven proof lid.  Sprinkle on the salt, pepper and mustard. Then place everything else in and around meat. Cover and bake for 3 hours.  Check occasionally to see if it’s drying out and you should add about 1/2 cup water – it makes its own juices, so you normally do not have to add this extra water.

Pasta e Fagioli (Sort of)

This is my version of pasta e fagiloi. Delicious, simple, easy to prepare. The ingredient list may seem long, but it’s stuff you probably already have in your kitchen, except maybe the V-8 juice and meaty ham bone. Remember, you can prepare the pasta separately, add to the bowls then add this soup – it’s up to you.

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced small
4+ minced garlic cloves (to taste)
2 14-5 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can kidney beans with juice
1 15 oz. can white beans with juice
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 12-15 oz. can V-8 Juice
1 Tbsp. white or rice vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 meaty ham bone
1 cup water
1/2 – 1 cup small pasta such as ditalini

In a large pot, brown meat and drain off almost all of the fat. Place back in pot and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes. add all the remaining ingredients except the pasta and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding another cup of water if it seems to thick – remember, when you add the pasta it thickens up.  During the last 20 minutes, remove the ham bone, add pasta, bring to a boil then simmer until pasta is done.

Sunday Stew (a.k.a. Super Bowl Stew)

No need to wait until Super Bowl Sunday. This stew simmers for a nice long six hours; the intoxicating aroma will have everybody hovering over the stove.

1 1/2 lbs. beef stew cut into cubes
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbs. butter
28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
30 oz. of tomato juice
7 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 medium onions, peeled & chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled & diced
2 potatos, peeled & chunked
1 Tbsp. Better Than Bouillon OR 3 beef bouillon cubes
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Sprinklings of cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 Tbsp. barley or orzo pasta

Place the beef on a plate and sprinkle on the white pepper and salt, rub in all over the cubes. Set aside while you get out a soup pot or dutch oven; place the butter in and melt over medium heat. Put meat into the pot and brown on both sides – 5 minutes each side.

Add everything else to the pot except the orzo if using – (If you simmer orzo for 6 hours it will be mush). Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and partially cover. Check and stir during the 6 hours, adding water as needed – depends on how thick you want it.

If using orzo pasta, add it the last hour.