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You never know when you’ll discover one of those genius recipes that’s so satisfying that everyone wants to eat it again and again. I scored when I tried this Nigella Lawson recipe for Asian Flavoured Short Ribs from her cookbook Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food.*
I interviewed Nigella years ago when she was on a press trip for her book Forever Summer*. She was smart, engaged and lovely all around. She was plenty striking too, with black hair and a pale yet rosy complexion that defined peaches and cream. I don’t recall her outfit, but I do remember her aquamarine ring with a stone the size of a medjool date for what at the time was her secret engagement to Charles Saatchi. Most of all, I liked her down-to-earth approach to baking and cooking and her deliciously original recipes that cut out all the unnecessary steps, because who wants to spend extra time in the kitchen? (If you love baking, you’ll adore her first book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.)
This recipe calls out beef short ribs, but I’ve remade it with boneless pork ribs and a beef chuck roast and it was still delicious. And the sauce is so flavorful, it can revive those meats you’re unearthing from the deep freeze right about now.
She recommends serving these short ribs with brown rice and green beans. But they’re also good with potato salad, pureed sweet potatoes or a spinach salad tossed with sesame dressing. Beverage Pairing: Since they have a little spice, these short ribs will be wonderful with a richer malty Belgian dubbel ale or any off-dry (slightly sweet) sparkling wine such as the delicious red Ottouve Gragnano from Italy.
Nigella’s Asian Flavoured Short Ribs
5 lbs. beef short ribs
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 cups water
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese (Shaoxing) rice wine
2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice powder
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 fat cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 fresh red chili, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3-4 limes, cut into wedges
● Preheat the oven to 300 Fahrenheit. Place the short ribs into a large pan.
● Mix together all the remaining ingredients and pour over the ribs.
● Cover with a layer of baking parchment or greaseproof paper, tucking it in tightly to seal as best you can, before putting on a lid, or cover the top of the pan with foil and seal the edges securely. Cook in the oven for 4-4½ hours: the meat should be tender and starting to come away from the bones.
● Transfer the ribs to a vessel that will fit in the fridge later to cool, and then tenderly remove as many of the bones as possible, before covering and refrigerating for at least 1 day, or up to 3 days.
● Before you reheat them, remove the hard layer of fat that will have formed on the top (I do this with my hands, encased in a pair of disposable vinyl gloves, CSI-style), transfer to a large ovenproof dish that you can also serve the ribs in–I use a ceramic dish–and reheat, covered with foil or a lid, depending on what you’re cooking in, at 400 Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until piping hot. (MH Note: I reheated them under a low broiler because I think oven ribs need some crispy edges.)
● Scatter some finely chopped red pepper and cilantro over the ribs on serving, and put some lime wedges on the table so that everyone can squeeze this sour juice into their rich, sweet stew, to taste.
Adapted from the Simply Nigella recipe on Daily Mail Online.
Photo credit: Simply Nigella