I enjoy making any recipe that is versatile with the type and/or cut of meat used. I don’t always have one specific cut of meat, so if I can use another cut, that’s great. With this recipe, you can use any type of beef ribs you want: short ribs, regular ribs, spare ribs, whatever. I would guess that you could also use stew meat if you wanted (because of the way it’s cooked), but I’ve never tried it that way, so don’t take my word for it. These are really good served over a mash. I combined a couple potatoes, parsnips, and cauliflower. You don’t have to include the potatoes; however, I find that when you include one or two potatoes, the texture (and stability) of the mash is superior.
A note about the red wine: this is an ingredient of contention in the strictly paleo community. Some people say “well, the alcohol is cooked out” (and after 6-8 hours in the slow cooker, it definitely is). Other people say “the alcohol doesn’t matter–it just turns into a more concentrated fruit sugar.” Ultimately, it’s your choice as to whether you feel comfortable using the wine. If it were a small amount, I would say that if you don’t want to use it, just omit it and add a little red wine vinegar. This is a large amount though–so if you don’t want to use it, I would suggest using the same amount (or slightly more) of a really strong beef broth. What do I mean by a “strong” beef broth? You want a beef BONE BROTH that you’ve cooked for at least two days. Use the best bones you can and cook all the good stuff outta those suckers until the bones are so soft that you could engrave them with your fingernails. Additionally, if you use broth instead of wine, this becomes Whole30 compliant.
That being said, if you use the broth, the beets will have more of an earthy flavor than if you use the wine. For some people this isn’t a problem. I’m not one of those people. I don’t enjoy the taste of beets all that often; however, when they’re cooked in wine, all that dirt flavor goes away, HA!
Beet-Braised Beef Ribs and Potato, Parsnip, and Cauliflower Mash
2 Tbsp olive oil
4-5 pounds beef ribs
salt and pepper
3 red beets, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
6 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 C dry red wine
20-oz (or close) can diced tomatoes
1.- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season ribs with salt and pepper on each side. Cook until browned on each side (about 10 minutes, give or take). Remove to slow cooker.
2.- Reduce pan heat to medium and add beets, onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in wine (or broth) and deglaze the pan. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a couple minutes and pour over ribs in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or on high for 3-4 hours).
Potato, Parsnip, and Cauliflower Mash
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
6 Tbsp cold butter, divided
1 C half & half
salt and pepper
1.- In large pot, cover potatoes, parsnips, and cauliflower with water by 1/2″. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until vegetables are fork tender (about 20-30 minutes).
2.- Drain and transfer to food processor or large blender. Add butter and pulse until pureed. Slowly pour half & half in and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.