Slow Cooked Beef Ribs

Before we set off for Spain and the kingdom of the pig, we had one final beef-feast meal in England. We have a local butcher, a young man called Ben who is passionate about locally sourced, organic meat and providing new and exciting cuts of meat to his customers. We love to shop at his store and make the most of what he recommends.

Slow Cooked Beef Ribs (5)

The other week it was beef ribs, something I hadn’t eaten for years. Put images of the court of Henry VIII out of your mind, with massive roasts supported by half a cow. Something like that just wouldn’t fit in our modern day ovens! I bought six ribs which I asked him to separate into individual ribs, so that I could slow cook them. I had anticipated 2 ribs per person but after our prawn starter, we managed 4 ribs between 3 people – I leave it to you to decide if, like me, “your eyes are greedier than your belly” (as my grandmother used to say)!

It’s not a complicated dish to prepare, the impact of flavour comes from the long, slow cooking which can also be done in a conventional oven.

Ingredients (to feed 4-6 people)

  • 6 beef ribs, separated into individual ribs
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • A large sprig of rosemary
  • A glass of red wine (plus one for the cook)
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning
  • Maldon (or kosher) salt

Heat a griddle pan to high and switch your slow cooker on to heat (or switch on the oven to low). Sear the ribs on all sides on a high heat until browned. You will probably need to do this in a couple of batches unless you have a huge griddle pan like me!

Slow Cooked Beef Ribs (1)

While they are being browned, gently heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a deep frying pan. Add the garlic and as soon as it starts to soften, add the tomatoes, the tomato purée and the wine.  Bring to a gentle bubble, season lightly and pop the rosemary in. You are not looking to make a finished sauce at this point, just to get it started and to ensure that it’s hot when it goes into the slow cooker or oven.

Put the ribs into either the slow cooker or an oven dish which you can cover. Sprinkle lightly with Maldon salt and pour the sauce over. Cover the pot/slow cooker and be very, very patient. I cooked mine on low in the slow cooker for about 10 hours, turning them over gently 3 or 4 times during this period until the meat was falling off the bones. In a conventional oven I think 5 or 6 hours should be fine, and if you can make the dish a day ahead, even better.

Slow Cooked Beef Ribs (2)

Gently remove the ribs from the sauce, trying to keep the meat with the bones if (like us) you feel cheated if someone else gets your bone.

Slow Cooked Beef Ribs (6)

Put the sauce into a pan, remove the rosemary and reduce for about 10 minutes on a medium heat. If you want a silky smooth sauce, use a hand blender to sort out those little chunks of tomato. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve the ribs with the sauce on the side so that strange folk like Big Man can eat them without and normal folk like me can smother them. Creamy mashed potato is always a good idea.

If you happen to be in beautiful Bexhill, do pop into London Road Butchers and say hello to Ben!

For more slow cooked dishes, why not try Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks or Mustard and Cider Chicken?

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Pork Ribs with A Sauce of Pomegranate Molasses

Back in Andalucía, the pig is King, and all things porky  were very much back on the menu when we were there recently.

Ribs looked particularly good at the butcher’s and they sell half racks – a length of ribs but cut in half lengthwise, so they become short ribs.

Confession time – our favourite way to eat ribs is rubbed with some coarse sea salt and simply cooked on the barbecue. However, despite being sunny, there was a Big Wind Up the Mountain so a barbecue was out. Time to switch on the oven and cook them another way.

Ribs with Pomegranate Molasses (2)

Amongst the ingredients that came back with us from England was a bottle of Pomegranate Molasses, used a lot in Ottolenghi’s recipes and a big feature in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. This dish is both boiled then oven cooked, but if you’re in a hurry you could skip the first step and simply oven cook the ribs. Boiling them first does make them very tender and juicy and you also end up with a wonderful stock which you can use later for soup…the choice is yours.

For 2 people

  • About 800g ribs

For the first stage (optional)

  • The juice of an orange, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and enough water to cover the ribs in a saucepan

For the Sauce

  • 8 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 8 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • half a teaspoon of hot pimentón or chilli powder
  • 4 tablespoons of molasses (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

If you are going to boil the ribs first, put all the ingredients in a pot, bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour. Remove the ribs from the stock and when they are cool enough to handle (or you can prepare them ahead to this stage) move on to the next stage.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the ribs. I put them into an ovenproof dish lined with plenty of foil. Make sure the ribs are well coated in the sauce, wrap them in the foil to form a tent and bake in a medium oven for about an hour and a half.

Serve with plenty of napkins to clean those sticky fingers and faces and enjoy!

Pork Ribs in Barbecue Sauce

Wait for them to cool down...!

Once of the nicest things about doing a blog is that you get to “meet” new people from all over the world and share a special little piece of their lives.  In this case it´s a lot of delicious recipes and talk about gardens and food and drink – all my favourite things!

We barbecue a lot here up our mountain, and finally invested in a gas barbecue last year.  I know, to the purists, it´s not exactly the same as using wood or carbon (although we do sometimes use this method too) but it´s so quick and easy and works well for us.  Mostly we keep things simple – a sprinkle of salt, some herbs, a dash of olive oil if the food needs it and we´re off!

I personally adore barbecue sauce, but rarely make it.  Big Man always insists he´s not a big fan of sauces, but whenever I make them he seems to enjoy them greatly.  I saw Greg´s delicious barbecue sauce over on his blog Rufus´ Food and Spirits Guide and thought I´d adapt it a little to make my own.  I only adapted it as we can´t get hold of all the ingredients here!  I only made a small batch and regretted it.  Big Man said on tasting the ribs and sauce “Ay, ¡que buena es esta salsa Americana!” which roughly translates to “Wow, this American sauce is so good!”.  Approval all round….

This was my version

  • A cup of chopped, peeled tomatoes
  • Half a cup of ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons of tomato purée
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of hot chili powder plus one dried chili
  • 1 teaspoon of English mustard powder
  • 4 tablespoons of molasses (miel de caña)
  • A few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Quarter cup of water

All I did was put all the ingredients together in a pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.  I kept some back and with about two thirds of the sauce I marinated my ribs.  It was meant to be overnight but we ended up eating them 2 days later.  I don´t think they suffered from the experience. 

There´s nothing like a good long soak in the bath!

When we barbecued the ribs, I heated the remaining sauce and we dipped our ribs into it, licked our fingers and had very messy but happy faces.