Two indisputably great winter recipes

I have made a lot of beef short ribs in my time, and they are a great no-fail winter stew. They are full of fat and connective tissue, and they had a moment 10-15 years ago where they were everywhere because they were so good.

It’s possible that someone would have told you that all the recipes worked, but this recipe, Beef Short Ribs with Carrots and Cumin, is the best. For a while, it was unfindable on the Internets, so I’m not sure what brought it back to Williams-Sonoma’s website, but I have an old print-out of it that I’ve never let go of because it is the only winter beef recipe that you need. There are fancier recipes with wine and other more expensive ingredients, and for some reason they come out not as good. Also, I would like to mention, that beef short ribs are probably the cheapest ethically raised  beef that I can find around here in the dead of winter.  If I’m smart, I’ll remember to put the beef bones in the freezer and use them for bone stock later.  I use Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free flour so that they are gluten-free, though I’m not sure whether this matters.

Braised Short Ribs with Carrots and Cumin

Ingredients:

  • 6 bone-in beef short ribs, kosher cut, 5 to 5 1/2 lb. total
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1=2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, as needed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Directions:
  • Preheat an oven to 350°F.Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on a plate. Dredge the ribs in flour, coating all sides. Shake off the excess.In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add half the ribs and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining ribs.Remove the pot from the heat, pour off the excess oil, and stir in the chopped garlic and cumin. Return the ribs to the pot and set over medium-high heat. Add the stock and enough water to almost cover the ribs and bring to a boil.

    Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Add the whole garlic cloves and carrots and bake until the meat is just tender, about 1 hour more.

    Uncover the pot and bake until the meat and carrots are very tender and the liquid is reduced to a flavorful sauce, about 30 minutes more.

    Spoon off any fat from the sauce. Transfer the ribs, carrots and sauce to individual shallow bowls and serve immediately.

    Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World Series, Paris, by Marlena Spieler (Oxmoor House, 2004).

 

Also, I keep making Lauren’s Spice Cookies from Epicurious. I do mess with the spices because 2 tablespoons of cloves is just too much for anyone these days. Perhaps this recipe is from a different era.  Also, who keeps mace on hand? We use allspice instead. I love this recipe because, like the one above, it’s dead easy. It pleases me, my family, and usually our friends, so I’m making sure to get it down here for anyone who wants it.

Spice Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or gf flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)

PREPARATION

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together the oil, the molasses, 1 cup of the sugar, and the eggs until the mixture is smooth.

In a bowl stir together the flour, the baking soda, the cinnamon, the ginger, the cloves, and the mace and add the mixture to the molasses mixture.

Beat the dry mixture into the wet mixture until it is combined well and chill the dough, covered, overnight.

Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and roll the balls in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to coat them well.

Bake the balls 3 inches apart on buttered baking sheets in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops crack.

Transfer the cookies to racks and let them cool.