I found a three pound package of beef short ribs in the freezer that I decided to pull out as my next Operation Pantry Project meal. I then went looking for a slow cooker recipe thinking that would probably be the best way to cook the ribs. I found this recipe in The Italian Slow Cooker (via Eat Your Books) and though I didn't have the right amount of short ribs, thought that a balsamic glaze sounded good.
This dish tasted pretty good, though I did have a few problems. My short ribs didn't turn out as tender as I would have liked. That may have been because I used a large crock pot and I didn't have the right amount of beef ribs (I did make the entire amount of sauce though). My rosemary sprig completely fell apart during the cooking process so I had to strain the liquid before I reduced it. Alas, the strainer also retained much of the bits of garlic that had been in the sauce. Yes, I stood there trying to get little bits of garlic out of the strainer from among the rosemary leaves before realizing I probably looked like an idiot. I decided that whatever garlic was already in the sauce would have to work cuz pickin' the little bits out wasn't working for me. I don't think anyone noticed the lack of garlic bits in the finished sauce.
I never got the "glaze" the recipe was calling for. It took a good 20 minutes before I had a decent sauce. I think part of the problem was I didn't get as much of the fat off the sauce as I would have liked. Since I didn't allocate twenty minutes to make the sauce, I took some of the sauce out at the 10 minute mark of reducing to serve Mr. L and take photos (so the photo above has a very watery sauce compared to what I served).
Even with the problems, the sauce had a wonderful flavor. We used it over rice for one meal and over potatoes the next. Making extra sauce even though we didn't have the full amount of ribs called for turned out to be a great idea for leftovers too as it kept the short rib meat somewhat moist.
BALSAMIC-GLAZED SHORT RIBS
(The Italian Slow Cooker)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, well trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 3-inch fresh rosemary sprig
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the meat dry and add only as many pieces to the pan as will fit comfortably without crowding. Cook until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer the meat to a large slow cooker and brown the remaining meat. Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper to taste.
Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour the liquid over the ribs and add the rosemary.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the ribs are very tender. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and discard the rosemary sprig and any loose bones. Cover the ribs and keep warm.
Skim the fat off the liquid. Pour the remaining sauce into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced and slightly thickened. Spoon the sauce over the ribs and serve hot.
Note: With my big crock pot, I would try to use the full amount of meat called for next time. Either that or use short ribs that probably haven't been in the freezer half a decade (okay, not that long, but I don't even remember when I bought them so they had been in there a bit).
Note: I would think about maybe putting the rosemary into a bit of cheesecloth before tossing it in so it wouldn't disintegrate in the sauce. Or maybe I needed to use a fresher piece of rosemary sprig? Not sure if that would make a difference in it falling apart during cooking.
Note: In retrospect, I may not have had the heat up enough to reduce the liquid. I would have liked more of a "glaze" than a sauce, though the sauce was excellent.
Even though this took more time than just dropping everything into the slow cooker (you have to brown the meat, saute the garlic and liquid beforehand and then spend the time reducing liquid after) I did like the flavor. Since we usually have beef short ribs in the freezer, I think this is a great recipe to have on hand.