Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sangria Braised Beef Spare Ribs

Sangria Braised Spare Ribs

Side-cut beef ribs are often sold as “ribs for the grill.”  I find that while you can grill them, the meat can be chewy.  Perhaps some of you have a great grilled spare rib recipe to share and if you do, please let me know about it!

This dish is de-lish!  It’s spare ribs braised in sangria, with garlic, onion, peppers, Jalapeño, shallots  and carrots.  The sauce is laced with soy sauce and honey.  Yum!

Even in the “organic” section of your supermarket, these ribs are often a great deal.  If you are on a very tight budget as we are, this is not only an easy meal to make, but it’s economical, too.
This recipe serves two because these ribs aren't that meaty.  Most of the weight is in the bone.   If you want to double this recipe, I suggest you don’t stack the ribs but use dueling Dutch ovens to create two batches.   I honestly haven’t tried this in the slow cooker. 

I also have not tried this with non-alcoholic wine.  If you want to use that instead, I would suggest you sweeten the wine up a bit with a little more honey if you can only find a dry non-alcoholic wine.  Sangria is light and fruity.  You really need that flavor to make this dish work.

This looks like a lot of ingredients.  If you are doing a serious braise, you have to remember that all of the flavors of the vegetables will just "melt" into the sauce.  It's not a pot roast, so you are not preserving the integrity of the whole veggies.  You want those veggies to dissolve into the sauce as it's cooking to impart wonderful flavors. 

Note how little salt is used in this dish by incorporating the natural flavors of the vegetables to "season" the food.   I have no idea whether chefs would agree with that last statement.  That's one of my secrets to healthy cooking!  I use the natural flavors of herbs and vegetables, and I take out some of the salt.

Here you go:

1 tablespoon plus a few drizzles of vegetable oil
2 pounds beef Spare Ribs
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Coarsely ground sea salt, to taste
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh shallot, minced
¼ cup sliced carrot
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and sliced into rings and then sliced again in half or thirds
1 teaspoon minced Jalapeño, optional (seeded)
1 cup Sangria wine
1 tablespoon honey
½ tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon divided
1 bay leaf
2 Clementines or tangerines, sliced
2 cups cold water, divided
1 cup button mushrooms

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add tablespoon of  oil to Dutch oven to coat bottom of the pan.  Heat oil until smoking hot.

Drizzle extra oil over ribs (meat side only) and rub into meat.  Sprinkle with black pepper.
Brown ribs on both sides, about four minutes.  Remove to plate.  Salt meat, to taste.
Important:  Remove oil from heat to let the temperature cool slightly.
Chop garlic, shallot, carrot, celery, pepper, and Jalapeño (if using).  Add to Dutch oven.  Return pan to medium heat and cook vegetables for about three minutes until slightly softened.
Add wine to pan and deglaze; scraping the browned bits from the bottom.
Whisk in honey, soy sauce and two tablespoons of tomato paste. 

Add ribs back to pan.  Add bay leaf and Clementine slices.   Bring to boil.  Cover. 
Place covered pan in oven and bake for two hours.

Add water.  Return to oven and bake for 30 more minutes, covered.

Remove ribs from oven.  Plate and keep warm under tin foil. 

Discard Clemintine slices and bay leaf.

Whisk remaining tomato paste into water.  Add remaining cup of water to the Dutch oven along with the button mushrooms.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, about ten minutes.  Sauce should thicken but not be too thick. 

Serve ribs and sauce over pasta or rice. 

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