Braised Beef Ribs with Guinness

There is the saying that ‘fat adds flavor’ and the problem with flavorful braised beef ribs has been the fat. The problem with braised beef ribs is the fat that comes from using the bone-in ribs. This recipe uses boneless beef ribs. Now, since we are not using the bone, we loose a lot of the thickness in the broth that comes from all the gelatin in the bone’s connective tissue. To add this thickness back to the broth, I add a bit of unflavored gelatin. So, we’ll cut the fat, but not the flavor.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs, trimmed of excess fat (see note and step-by-step)
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced thin from pole to pole (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until smoking and brown the ribs. Work in batches to prevent over-crowding. When its browned transfer the meat to a bowl and hold on to it.

Reduce heat to medium, add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes  Add in the tomato paste and cook. Then add garlic and cook. Increase heat to medium-high and add Guinness, broth, carrots, thyme, and bay leaf. Add beef and any accumulated juices to pot; cover and bring to simmer. Transfer pot to oven and cook, using tongs to turn meat twice during cooking, until fork slips easily in and out of meat, 2 to 2½ hours.

Place water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top; let stand at least 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer meat and carrots to serving platter and tent with foil. Strain cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator or bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Allow liquid to settle about 5 minutes and strain off fat. Return cooking liquid to Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture; season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over meat and serve. I like this over egg noodles.

boneless beef short ribs

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Guinness Stewed Lamb

This warm, rich, meaty stew is great for serving with boiled potatoes and roasted root vegetables. I’ll post that roasted veggie recipe soon. This stewed lamb is a traditional Irish dish for St Patrick’s Day, and makes a good alternative to the common corned beef and cabbage.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 lbs lamb cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 medium onions chopped
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 pint of Guinness
  • 2 table spoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt a little butter into a heavy cast pot. Shake the lamb cubes in a plastic bag with the flour and get a good coating on them. Brown these cubes, working in batches. Deglaze the pot with a little stock.

Put the browned lamb, garlic, onions,  add the rest of the stock and bring this to a boil. Whisk the flour and brown sugar into the boiling pot.

Once this thickens, turn of the heat, add the Guinness and vinegar ant put this in the oven. Keep this cooking in the oven for about two hours. The lamb should be nice and fork-tender. As mentioned before, serve this with potatoes and veggies and a nice loaf of bread.

Guinness Soup

Here’s a simple straightforward use for a pint of Guinness, add it to the soup. Yup, a pint of Guinness adds a nice earthy note and much needed smoothness in a butternut squash soup. In this recipe, I swap the cream for Guinness, and get an added bonus. Not only does the flavor pallet change, but the texture is much improved as the Guinness adds body.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 apples
  • 1 quart chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 1 pint Guinness
  • Sea salt

Take your squash and peel it, split it in half, clean out the seeds, and chop into manageable chunks. Toss this in the pot. Take your apples, core them, peel them, and chop them into manageable chunks. Toss them in the pot. Take your stock and toss it in the pot. Take your Guinness, and you see the pattern that’s developing here… toss it in the pot.

Add a pinch or two of sea salt and boil this until the chunks of squash are all… squishy.

Once these are soft, I use the immersion blender and blend the soup right in the pot.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can take the pot off the heat, let it cool a bit and transfer the soup to a blender and blend till smooth.

Serve with warm rolls and butter.

Blarney Stones

So, my brother suggested that I spend the time from now till St Paddy’s day sharing my many Irish recipes. I told him it’s a blog about Long Island food, and he reminded me that Ireland is a rather long island. Well, its hard to argue with logic like that so…

Blarney Stones – my version of Guinness battered scallops. Here on Long Island we have access to rather fresh scallops. However, there are times when you get scallops that are ‘less than optimal’. When this occurs, coating the little mollusks in a beer batter is a tasty cover-up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ lb bay scallops
  • 1 cup self rising flour , split in half
  • ¼ cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 1 can Guinness
  • 5 -6 dashes hot sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • oil (for frying)

Rinse the scallops and drain to a towel.

In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the flour, the corn meal, hot sauce, salt and pepper with enough beer to make a batter a little thinner than a pancake batter.

Put the remaining flour in a plastic bag, add the scallops, close the bag and shake well to coat them evenly.

Remove batches of the scallops, coat well in the batter and fry in the pre- heated oil until golden brown.

Remove the scallops from the oil and drain on paper towels.

These go wonderfully with my tartar sauce…

Comfort Food – Pub Style

Whenever you go to a good pub, the menu always features one of my favorite comfort foods. That’s right; we’re talking about a Sheppard’s pie… cooked long and slow. Now, there are quick and easy recipes that will tell you how to make one of these in thirty minutes, or even quicker. But the whole point it seems to these winter comfort foods is to take the long, slow, warm, approach that not only heats the hearth, but warms our memories as well.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb lean lamb, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • enough beef stock to cover
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tsp corn starch
  • 2 lbs Long Island potatoes
  • 4 oz butter
  • Salt and pepper

Add minced lamb into a casserole dish, add onion, carrot, celery, beef stock, corn starch, salt and pepper, to taste, and stir. Cook in a slow oven, 275°F for about 2 hours. Its important that the flavors meld together. You can do all this on stove top for about 20 minutes BUT the flavor is never the same. When complete, drain off gravy and put that on the side.

Boil and mash potatoes with milk, butter, salt and pepper, however don’t make it into a wet paste. It should be firm and almost chunky, think ‘rustic’, and for gosh sakes don’t use the mash potatoes in a box!

Add back enough gravy to the meat to make it moist. Gently add the mashed potato to the top and build up. Spread with a fork, finally making fork marks both up and down and across to form a basket like pattern.

Put oven temperature at 400°F, then bake until potato is crispy and golden on the peaks (about) 30 minutes. Serve with remaining gravy, and a pint of Guinness or two.