Aaahhh, it’s nice to be back updating this site again. It’s been a very long year, 2015, and real life kinda took over and it made me neglect this site. Something had to give, you know? Not that I wasn’t eating and cooking; I was, but I was updating Instagram more with the hashtag #ciaEatsNYC. (Plus a certain Rottweiler managed to steal my heart, so.) There’s still traffic to this site and invitations from PR firms still have not ebbed, so thank you for sticking with me.
It’s a new year and part of my list of resolutions is to do more stuff I like and I have to admit that I still like the Internet. Instagram is still my main social media channel because it’s instant, but I’ll make more effort to publish the recipes I test here. There may be less restaurant reviews, however, because lord knows how many of those are already out there. What I’ll be more vigilant about are my recommendations using Amazon Associates, a tool I’ve never really taken advantage of. Amazon even decided to close my old account because there hasn’t been any activity on it so a new one had to be created so I can start from scratch. I know you trust my recommendations so I promise that they will be legit. If they are only related products, I will make sure that I note the difference.
For my first recipe back, I wanted a soup that’s more like a stew because it finally started to feel like winter outside. I opted for this borscht recipe I found on several sites and made my adjustments and opted for, oops, canned beets to save time. In the end, I didn’t end up grating them so it’s more chunky which made me just call this “borscht-style stew”. Feel free to chop them more finely than I did here.
With this recipe, you’ll see why you need to learn how to properly braise meat. Browning the beef short ribs may seem a lot of work, but you’ll be so happy when all that meat starts to fall apart with just a gentle prod of your fork. There’s a lot of fat that would form, but nothing a hearty bread or a bowl of rice can’t solve.
6 bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 cans of red beets, drained, chopped in smaller pieces, juice reserved
1 quart low-sodium beef stock
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes (soak in cold water until ready to use to avoid discoloration)
a large handful of baby carrots, roughly chopped
1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and add to the pot, cooking until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove ribs from the heat and transfer to a large plate; set aside.
2. Discard all but a scant amount of the rendered fat from the pot, enough to sauté the onions in. Cook, stirring often, until tender. Add the reserved beet juice and the beef broth and let boil.
3. Add the browned short ribs back to the broth and cook at a high simmer, covered, until the short ribs are very tender, about 2 hours. Check a couple of times and make sure the broth has not dried up. The meat will fall off the bones.
5. When the short ribs are ready, remove them from the pot, but leave the loose bones for extra flavor, and return to the large plate. Add the beets, potatoes, and carrots to the pot and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes.
6. While the vegetables are cooking, pick the meat from the bones, discarding the connective tissue. The meat should shred easily. Add back to the pot and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Feel free to add a little hot water to get the perfect chunky stew consistency.
One of my kitchen essentials is a large Dutch oven. I have this large one in a nice teal color. You can choose a less expensive brand, but the Le Creusets last a lifetime. This pair of tongs is so useful when you’re braising beef short ribs and they lock in place so you can control the grip.