Make it Through the Dark Tip #7 - Ribs

We got a copy of the Hawksmoor at Home cookbook for our birthdays this year, and I have spent a lot of time building up to trying one of the dishes in it - they are all pretty fancy and I'm traditionally pretty rubbish at spending a lot of money on fancy ingredients.

The IPA Ribs recipe however was calling to me. C a l l i n g t o m e. Its not too far from my normal weekend stew menu, we had friends coming over so it seemed like a good excuse.
I skipped out a bunch of ingredients I couldn't find so mine was the poor man's version. Beef dripping I subbed out for olive oil, a pigs trotter was left out and I used some lardons instead. Can you even just buy a pigs trotter? Somehow nowhere in Crouch End had star anise so I just whacked in a few cloves instead.
This was a glorious entire day spent cooking. I marinaded this load (which only cost £11?!) in a bottle of Brewdog Punk IPA for 2 hours along with all the vege and herbs. Then, cooking down the marinade juices for 20 minutes which smelt so incredible I almost cried, before adding stock, browning off the ribs, frying the vege in the leftover oil, and banging it all in the le creuset at 150c for 2-3 hours, checking it intermittently for a smell and a stir.
There was a lot of reducing of sauces involved in this, which I generally don't bother with when I'm making a stew but I enjoyed because who doesn't want their house to smell like food glorious food when they have friends coming for tea. After the casserole has been in for long enough for the meat to get tender, take all the solids out and let the sauce simmer down and thicken. I skimmed the fat from the top to fry the mushrooms off in, before adding them and all of the meat and other vege back to the sauce, and popping it back in the oven for another 30 minutes while you get your mash on. I served this with plenty of red wine, mash potatoes and a nice pile of fresh greens fried off in garlic and lemon juice (which also cuts through the sauce nicely when you shove it all in your mouth at once.

I have no photographs of the meal past this point because I was so engrossed in cooking it and then eating it that you will have to make it for yourself to see what it looked like, sorry.

Here's how-
3kg short ribs
A split smoked pigs trotter (poor man's version - Waitrose do good lardons)
Garlic, shallots, carrots, celery (there are measurements but I like to ad lib here)
Bay leaves and rosemary
Peppercorns, star anise, fennel seeds (tied up in muslin but I just whacked this all in the marinade - cloves instead of star anise and no fennel seeds because who has those)
1 x 330ml bottle of IPA (ask @totalcurtis if you want any recommendations here)
40g beef dripping or just use some olive oil or butter if you forget this from the butchers
2 - 3 large flat mushrooms
"seasoned flour" whatever that is, I figured that meant flour with salt and pepper so I just mixed those together.

Cut your ribs into manageable sizes, I just separated mine out. Halve the shallots, carrots, celery, crush the garlic with the flat of a knife to let the goodness out. Whack all of this except the dripping, mushrooms and flour in something you can marinade in and pour the beer over. Give it a stir, cover it in cling-film and whack it in the fridge. Give everything a toss about every now and then so everything is covered.

Preheat oven to 150C/300F. Dry off the meat, cover each rib in the flour and shake off the excess, then fry them off in the dripping (or oil/butter) to seal in the awesomeness. Stick meat in the casserole dish and then fry off the vege in the leftover beefy pan before also adding to the pan. Add stock to the beer marinade (with all of those herbs and stuff still in) and bring up to simmering point. Stick your nose in the vapours and try not to cry because that smell is ridiculous. Pour over meat and cook for 2.5 hours or until the ribs are tender.

Once cooked take the meat and vege out of the juice and skim off the fat. Reduce the juice down until its saucy. This took around 40min because I don't know why. Once that is done, stick the meat and vege back in, cut the mushrooms into strips and fry them off in the fat you skimmed off the sauce. Pour it all into the pot, reheat for around 30min and serve directly into your face.

FYI the cook book says "even better the next day" and I can vouch that it really, really was. We had around 2 ribs left (the meat all just fell right on off those bones so who knows really) and a bunch of sauce, I had some braising steak in the fridge which I fried off and added into the sauce and re-casseroled the whole thing again. Double stew you guys, double stew.

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