I have rediscovered the slow-cooker. And I wish I had done it sooner. I haven’t really used it much in the last four years when I inherited one with a removeable crock from Mom. My old one was really old – all one piece and IMPOSSIBLE to clean. And it seems the crock-pot, or slow-cooker, is making a comeback. There are so many places for recipes out there….

But this one I found in The Best of America’s Test Kitchen (2011) and adapted it to our tastes.

    Slow-Cooker Braised Short Ribs

      5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
      Salt and pepper
      2 tablespoons vegetable oil
      2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
      1 carrot, peeled and chopped
      1 celery rib, chopped
      2 tablespoons tomato paste
      1 teaspoon dried thyme
      2 cups dry red wine
      2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
      2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
      2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
      2 bay leaves
      2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    1. Cut the meat from the bones and set aside. Arrange the bones in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and microwave until well browned, 10 to 15 minutes, rearranging the bones halfway through. {My short ribs were different than the ones they used so I skipped this step.} Transfer to the slow cooker.

    2. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook the meat until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the slow cooker.

    3. Cook the onions, carrot, and celery in the empty skillet over medium heat until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme and cook until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and vinegar and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, tapioca, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Transfer the sauce to the slow cooker with the meat.

    4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until the meat is fork-tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 to 5 hours). Transfer the meat to a serving platter. Strain and defat the cooking liquid and discard the solids. {I discarded the bay leaf and kept the cooked onions, celery, and carrots to pour over the ribs with the sauce.} Stir the parsley into the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the meat. Serve, passing the remaining sauce at the table.

    I wish you have had supper with us last night. THIS was delicious. The balsamic vinegar and the concentrated wine really added a tremendous depth of flavor. Served with plain mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus, it was perfect comfort food.

    The article (page 54) contains all the trials and errors usually found in their magazines that make them almost perfect, but I left all that out. So if you want the whole scoop you need to subscribe to their magazine. (And get the review issue for free!!)