I live in a suburb of Washington DC and this morning we woke up to more than three inches of wet heavy snow! This is the first sign of snow this year and that too it arrived when we are supposed to have the onset of spring. Every year by the middle of March our bulbs start sprouting and the famous cherry blossoms start to open their buds but this year, this unexpected snowfall may have killed our spring entirely. Two days ago when I had ventured into my backyard, I was thrilled to see my tulips and daffodils starting to surface but now I am wondering if they can survive this thick sloppy snow that has laid itself over the tender shoots!
On days like these my husband and I are very thankful that we work from home and that we don’t need to venture out in the cold and also that we don’t need to face the nasty traffic jams that have become the hallmark of the Metro region! This morning we just sat in our pajamas, sipped our espressos and watched the snow fall while our three dogs went out to play in the snow and then brought in their muddy paws and wet fur for me to clean. And then I set out to make the beef short ribs that I had lying in the fridge. I made a hearty stew that cooked for over three hours, out of the short ribs and that was our lunch for today – it turned out to be the perfect dish to cheer up our mood on this cold grey day.
1. 1.5 lbs of beef short ribs (fat trimmed)
2. One large onion or two medium sized onions
3. One bulb of fennel
4. 4-5 cloves of garlic
5. 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary (I didn’t have fresh rosemary so I used dried rosemary but you can use fresh sprigs too)
6. 2 teaspoons of paprika
7. 1 teaspoon of salt (or more if needed)
8. 15-20 mixed colored pepper corns
9. 1.5 cups of Merlot (or any dry red wine)
10. 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
11. One cup of chopped carrots
12. 6 stalks of celery
13. 3-4 small potatoes
14. 1.5 tablespoons of tomato paste
15. 1 tablespoon of honey
16. 1.5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
17. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1. Sprinkle the salt, paprika and pepper corns all over the short ribs.
2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a heavy bottomed cooking pot and place the short ribs in the pan. Brown them on each side. This step will take you about 5-7 minutes.
3. While the short ribs are getting browned, peel and dice the onions.
4. Pour the chopped the onions into the cooking pot.
10. Add the dried or fresh rosemary and stir.
11. Cover the pot and keep it on low flame. Let the stew cook for about 90 minutes. Stir after every 15-20 minutes and if it looks like it is getting too dry, add some more stock! It is important to let the stew cook on low heat and covered!!!
12. Wash and chop the potatoes (into cubes about an inch or so in length) and add them to the pot. Also add apple cider vinegar and the honey and stir.
13. Cover the pot and let the stew cook on low heat for another 60-90 minutes or until the meat is very tender. The time may vary a little depending on how tough or tender the meat was. Usually the whole process of cooking takes close to 3 hours.