Bison Ribs

We ran out to visit the lovely folks at Whitefeather Meats on Saturday so Beloved could pick up a couple of things to take on his business trip this week.  While we were there, I was poking around in the freezers (got another rabbit!) and found a stash of racks of bison ribs.

You KNOW I wasn’t going to pass those up.

When we went to check out, Scott Perkins said to me, “Good choice!  If those didn’t sell, I’d take them home and cook them myself.”  To answer my question as to just how he’d prepare them, he said, “I put them in the slow cooker!”

Once we got home, I decided to put the ribs in the refrigerator so I could cook them for our Sunday dinner (’cause bison ribs are such a traditional Irish meal, don’t you know).  Faced with actually cooking them, though, I thought that I’d like to serve them on the bone so I decided to braise the ribs in the oven and then finish them on my cast-iron grill pan with a sauce.

It was a good choice; the meat was succulent and incredibly flavorful and the choice to brush them with my Rhubarb Chutney Sauce was an excellent one, although they would be delicious with a standard barbecue sauce – or just on their own.  Since they were just huge, they were also rather fun to eat – I felt like Fred Flinstone.  The Young one picked three of the ribs absolutely clean.

If you can’t get your hands on bison ribs, this recipe would be just as good with beef ribs (not to be confused with short ribs).  You can, of course, finish these on the grill, if you prefer.  Assuming it’s grilling weather where you are, because it definitely is NOT here.

Bison Ribs.  Flavorful and meaty, yet tender and succulent, these are quite easy to make.

Bison Ribs
Serves: 4
  • 4 pounds bison ribs
  • 2 tablespoons tallow or other cooking fat
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 pint beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup [url href=”” target=”_blank”]Rhubarb Chutney Sauce[/url]
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Allow the ribs to come to room temperature; if they’re in a rack, separate them into individual ribs and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the tallow over medium-high heat in large, oven-safe Dutch oven or casserole with a lid. Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary,
  3. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Arrange the ribs in the pan on their sides and pour in the beef stock. Cover and bake for 2 hours, turning the ribs every 30 minutes, until they are tender, but not falling off the bone.
  4. Allow the ribs to rest, uncovered, in the pot for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium high heat.
  5. Sear the ribs on the grill pan until they begin to crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Brush with the rhubarb sauce, and serve immediately.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 329 calories, 10.2g total fat, 130mg cholesterol, 346.3mg sodium, 986.6mg potassium, 11.3g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 8.9g sugar, 45.6g protein

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

I sincerely apologize for not having the planned post up Friday, but I had completely forgotten that The Young One and I had an appointment to spend the day at Kent State for something called “Golden Flash Day” where I spent 6 hours with 500 other glassy-eyed parents who looked as if they, too, wondered how the hell they’re going to pay for the next 4 years.  They served us both breakfast and lunch – apparently as some sort of compensation for telling us that the school wants $19,000 a year to educate our kids – but that’s a subject for another post (the Spin Cycle this week is “Why??” and this would be the perfect Spin).

At any rate, today’s recipe was inspired by Hank Shaw, Master of All That is Hunted, Fished and Foraged.  Apparently he and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes are quite chummy because the original recipe, which I’ve adapted to suit my particular dietary needs, is one of many guest posts by Hank on Elise’s site.

And a delicious recipe it is.  We’ve come to love rabbit; it’s really a tender, mild-tasting meat – if you didn’t know you were eating bunny, you’d truly think it was chicken.  Well, that’s true at least of domestic rabbit, which is farmed, and is the kind we buy (if I’m not mistaken, it’s illegal to sell wild meats that are hunted, and I’m not quite up – yet – to going out and slaying the critters myself).

This is a simple recipe, but really quite elegant, although my picture isn’t quite as nice as the one with the original recipe.  The meat is tender and the sauce is tangy and rich; it was just lovely served over a my Cauliflower-Celery Root Puree.

If you just can’t bring yourself to eat rabbit, this would be great with chicken thighs.

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce - a French Bistro Classic, farm-raised rabbit is braised in a creamy, piquant sauce.

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce
Serves: 4
  • 1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces
  • kosher sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  1. Salt the rabbit well and set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than an hour.
  2. Melt the ghee over medium heat in a wide, shallow enameled Dutch oven or skillet with a lid. Pat the rabbit pieces dry and slowly brown them in the ghee, in batches if necessary; do not allow the pieces to touch. Remove the rabbit to a bowl or platter and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the white wine and increase the heat to high, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the mustard, thyme and water and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Decrease the heat to low; return the rabbit to the pan, turning to coat them with the sauce. Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the rabbit is very tender.
  5. Gently transfer the rabbit pieces to a platter and keep warm. Increase the heat under the pan to high and bring to a boil; reduce the sauce by half. Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk and parsley. Stir to combine and return the rabbit to the pan. Coat with the sauce and serve at once.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 444 calories, 28.4g total fat, 127.5mg cholesterol, 455.9mg sodium, 732.7mg potassium, 5.3g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, <1g sugar, 36.5g protein

Pomegranate Short Ribs

I’m baaaaack!  My personal business has been attended to for now, so I’ll be back to a regular posting schedule. Aren’t you just thrilled?  I know I am.

Today’s recipe is one I made Monday night using my new favorite kitchen tool – my pressure cooker.  I just love how I can make a dish in 50 minutes that would normally take  2 1/2 hours in the oven or on the stove top, making rich, flavorful braises such as this possible on a week night.

Did I mention rich and flavorful?  I guess so, because according to The Young One, “these are the best short ribs you’ve ever made, Mom.”  That’s high praise coming from His Pickiness, especially since I was worried the pomegranate molasses was going to be off-putting for him.

Seriously, though, this really was wonderful, and there were no leftovers – The Young One ate at least two helpings.  And as braised beef dishes go, this was quite simple – brown the meat, give the vegetables a quick sautë, stir in the liquids and any other herbs, spices or aromatics (in this case, that includes anchovy filets for their lovely umami quality), lock the lid and pressurize for the specified time.

Boom.  Dinner.

Pomegranate molasses is simply pomegranate juice that’s been reduced to a syrup – most commercial varieties contain sugar, so if you want to make your own, it’s a fairly straightforward process.  In fact, I’ll post the recipe I used tomorrow.  If you just can’t stand anchovies, you can use a couple of tablespoons of gluten-free tamari or soy sauce instead.

Note:  if you don’t want to use the pomegranate molasses, for whatever reason, a regular molasses can be used.  In fact, it would probably go together with the bourbon really, really well.  No pressure cooker?  Braise this in the oven at 350 F for 2 1/2 hours.  Other than that, prepare the dish according to the recipe.

Pomegranate Short Ribs

Pomegranate Short Ribs

Serves: 4
  • 3 racks beef short ribs, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons lard or clarified butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 anchovy filets
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a 6- or 8-quart pressure cooker, heat the lard or butter over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs lightly with salt and pepper and brown them in the fat, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, carrot, celery, onion, red pepper flakes and anchovies to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onion begins to soften and the vegetables are tender crisp. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, bourbon, tomato paste, and water and return ribs to pot.
  3. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 50 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to decrease naturally.
  4. Carefully unlock and remove the lid of the pressure cooker; divide the short ribs between 3 warmed plates. Stir the pomegranate molasses into the sauce in the pot and season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Spoon the pomegranate sauce over the short ribs and serve.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 489 calories, 24.2g total fat, 109mg cholesterol, 327.9mg sodium, 1544.6mg potassium, 24.5g carbohydrates, 1.8g fiber, 3.5g sugar, 34.5g protein

Braised Lamb Shanks with Spiced Butternut Squash

Happy Monday!  (That sounds so much better than f@%k Monday, even if that sentiment is more sincere.)

Well, I’ve been rocking and rolling with my new pressure cooker, and you’ll probably get two recipes for it this week.  Mine is a Fagor 8-quart Duo (which simply means it gives me the option to cook food at either 8 psi or 15 psi), and I just love it.  Dishes that used to take hours can now be made in about 1/3 of the time and it’s pretty easy to use, especially once you get the hang of it.

Anyhoo, Beloved was out of town on business last week and didn’t get home until very late on Friday (or very early on Saturday, depending on how you look at it), and had to turn around and leave again on Sunday morning.  When I asked him what he’d like for dinner on Saturday, he said, “I don’t know…but something special.  Not necessarily fancy, but cook me something.”  I began running the contents of our freezers through my brain (no small feat since there’s 3 of them), and said, “We’ve got those lamb shanks we picked up a few weeks ago.”

“That would be great!” he said.  So I pulled them out of the freezer and started thinking about what I wanted to do with them.

And I came up with this.

Lamb shanks are marvelously rich and tender when braised, and have a great flavor that stands up really well to robust seasonings.  I braised them in a nice Spanish rioja and homemade bone broth with caramelized shallots and served them over a richly spiced butternut squash puree and we ate every last bit of the lamb – The Young One just about inhaled it.  (There was no lamb left, and I made Butternut Squash Pancakes with the little leftover squash we had Sunday morning – they were deeeeeeelicious!)

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, or simply don’t want to use it, you can follow the instructions as written, but instead of the pressure cooker, make it in a enameled Dutch oven and braise on the stove, over low heat, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients – most of them are spices for the squash puree.  This really is not a difficult dish at all.

Because there is wine in the braise, the lamb is not Whole30 compliant – sorry about that.  It might be quite good with balsamic vinegar in place of the rioja.  The spiced butternut squash, on the other hand, is Whole30 compliant.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Spiced Butternut Squash

Braised Lamb Shanks with Spiced Butternut Squash

Serves: 6
  • 8 ounces shallots, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks, about 1 1/2 pounds each
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • 1 cup robust red wine, such as a Spanish rioja
  • 2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds, halved and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the shallots, stirring frequently, until they are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a 6- or 8-quart pressure cooker, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee and the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb shanks for 2 to 3 minutes per side; Remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the carrot and onion, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, wine, beef stock, salt and pepper; add the rosemary and thyme and return the lamb shanks and shallots to the pot.
  5. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker in place and increase the heat until the cooker reaches full pressure (15 psi). Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to decrease naturally.
  6. While the lamb is braising, fill the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the squash halves with about an inch of water. Place the squash, cut sides down, in the dish and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender enough to be pierced with a fork.
  7. Scrape the flesh of the squash into the bowl of a a food processor; add the ghee and spices and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, and cover and keep warm until the lamb is ready, if necessary.
  8. Carefully unlock and remove the lid of the pressure cooker and remove the lamb shanks. Using a fork, shred the meat away from the bones and discard the bones. Remove the thyme sprigs from the liquid in the pan and ladle enough of the sauce over the lamb to moisten it.
  9. Divide the squash between 6 dinner plates and spoon the lamb, with any extra sauce if desired, over the top and serve.
  10. If you prefer, you can braise the lamb in a Dutch oven on low heat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  11. Nutrition (per serving): 473 calories, 26.8g total fat, 81.2mg cholesterol, 1232.4mg sodium, 1434.1mg potassium, 35.2g carbohydrates, 5.4g fiber, 8.9g sugar, 20g protein

Oxtail Stew

Happy Monday morning, y’all!  I hope you had a nice weekend – we certainly did.   It was a very busy weekend, though; we not only did our usual weekend chores but also cleaned out the cabinets in the master bath.  Apparently just in the nick of time – I’m amazed the people from that hoarders show haven’t been knocking on our door.  I found makeup in there that is older than The Young One and enough, er, feminine products to last me through the remainder of the whole menopause thing.

TMI, I know.  Sorry about that.

At any rate, we spent the majority of the weekend cooking.  Much of it very basic, but very necessary: we not only rendered 5 pounds of lard, but made both chicken and beef stocks.  Beloved, giddy from temperatures in the 40s for the first time in months, dragged the smoker out of the garage and smoked a brisket.

In our driveway.

And Saturday night, I made this wonderful, wonderful stew.

When we purchased our side of beef last June, I asked for all of the “alternate” cuts if the people buying the other half of our cow didn’t want them.  And they didn’t, so I ended up with the marrow bones, tallow, liver, kidneys, heart, tongue – and the tail.  The heart and tongue are still in the freezer (the kidneys went into some dog food for Scooter, and I suspect the heart will as well, although I believe we’re going to have the heart from our next cow mixed into the ground beef); the tail had been languishing away in there as well.  Beloved finally talked me into taking it out and making a stew of it while there was still weather cold enough to warrant such a dish.

I don’t know why I waited so long – this has to be the very best stew I’ve ever eaten.  The long braising of the meat made it so tender it literally melted in the mouth, and the stew was rich and velvety and intensely flavorful.  I can guarantee that I will NOT wait nine months to cook the one from our next side of beef.

Oxtails Seared
Oxtails Seared

Oxtail Mirepoix
Oxtail Mirepoix
Oxtail Braising
Oxtail Braising
Oxtail Stew
Oxtail Stew

Oxtail Stew

serves 6

3 pounds oxtails, separated at the joints
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons beef tallow or other cooking fat
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
2 cups dry red wine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 small turnips, peeled and cut into large pieces

Melt the tallow (or other cooking fat) over medium-high heat in a large, heavy Dutch oven – preferably cast iron. Sprinkle the oxtails with salt and pepper; add them to the pot and sear them on all sides, working batches if necessary. Remove them from the Dutch oven to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the diced onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft – about 5 minutes. Place the oxtail back to in pot, along with any juices that may have accumulated on the plate, and add the stock, wine, thyme, bay leaf, garlic and a teaspoon of salt (halve the amount of salt if using canned stock).

Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender; uncover for the last half hour if the mixture is still “soupy” to allow the liquid to reduce.

One hour before the oxtail is done, heat the oven to 350 F. Toss the carrots, parsnips and turnips with the olive oil and roast them for 45 minutes to an hour, or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Remove the oxtails from the stew and cut the meat from the bones. Add the meat back to the stew, along with the roasted vegetables, and serve.

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Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday