I had to throw out a lot of food after Hurricane Sandy hit last year. We lost power for 6 days and although we were able to eat lots of the stuff I had stored and brought some things to my sister-in-law and brother’s house, we couldn’t save everything and after all, there was just so much room in Eileen and Jeff’s freezer.
Much of what we discarded were the make-ahead meals that I freeze for when I will be coming home after a busy day and I’m too tired to cook or it’s too late. I plan ahead by taking out one of those packaged dinners. And all I have to do is put it in an ovenproof dish and pop it into the oven for cooking.
Or I call ahead and hope Ed is home to do that for me so that in addition to not having to cook, dinner is ready. Hot and ready!
I have a whole list of these make-ahead foods. I try to cook on Sundays, spending a quiet day at home doing what I love, making delicious things to eat and smelling all those wonderful, homey cooking perfumes you get from dishes like stew and Osso Buco and pot roast.
And this wonderful recipe for Ale-Braised Short Ribs. I made a fresh batch recently (along with some other good make-ahead meals) so I’m all set for a while.
Ale Braised Short Ribs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 pounds boneless beef short ribs
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bottle ale
28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, liquid included
1 cup veal or beef stock
2-3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a large dish. Press the meat into the flour to coat all sides. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the meat, turning the pieces occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the meat and set it aside. Add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the ale, tomatoes and stock. Stir the ingredients. Place the thyme and rosemary on top. Bring the liquid to a boil. Return the meat to the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook at low heat for 3-1/2 to 4 hours (or in the oven at 250 degrees) or until the meat is fork tender. Remove the meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Bring the liquid in the pan to a boil and cook on high for 4-5 minutes or until the juices have thickened. Pour over the meat and vegetables and serve. (Alternately, separate the meat, vegetables and pan juices; refrigerate. Skim fat from juices when cold and proceed as above.) Makes 6-8 servings