BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Some people may think that watching cooking shows while exercising is defeating the purpose. I’ve never been able to grasp that argument, so consequently, some of my favorite TV programs are about food. I also like to peruse cookbooks and read just about anything that’s written about food.

Today, while browsing the May edition of Reader’s Digest, I came across an article written by Jamie and Bobby Deen, the sons of chef and TV personality Paula Deen. The boys wrote about Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Classic Southern Slaw and were sharing the recipes, which are from their 2011 book, “Get Fired Up” (Ballantine, $25).

If you’re like me, you think barbecued sandwiches such as those made with pork are wonderful. But what a lot of people don’t know is you also can make the sandwiches using chicken. It’s nothing new to me, since combining pheasant (in the place of chicken) with a homemade barbecue sauce is one of my favorite dishes. One thing I haven’t thought about, though, is dressing the sandwich with some tasty slaw, which is sort of a Southern tradition.

Here’s the Deens’ recipe for the chicken, slaw and barbecue sauce, which I can’t wait to try. If it’s as good as it looks, I might just have to run out and buy their book, which focuses on grilling, tailgating, picnicking and a lot more.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
TO MAKE BBQ:
One 3-pound rotisserie chicken
1½ cups prepared barbecue sauce
Classic Southern Slaw (recipe follows)
Bread-and-butter pickles, for serving (optional)
4 Kaiser Rolls, split
TO MAKE SLAW:
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
One 14- to 16-ounce package prepared slaw mix
Using your hands or a fork, shred the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin. You should have about 2½ cups. In a large bowl, stir together the chicken and barbecue sauce. Sandwich the chicken mixture, slaw and pickles between each split roll and serve.

Classic Southern Slaw
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, onion, vinegar, celery seed, salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Place the slaw mix in a large bowl. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the slaw and toss well. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Barbecue Sauce
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, if desired, and minced
½ teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine tomato sauce, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Jambalaya

If you’ve never had jambalaya cooked by a native Louisianan, you don’t know what your missing. I can say that as a certainty because no jambalaya I’ve eaten can compare with that made by an old friend and former co-worker, Sue Ellyn Scaletta.

I’m writing this with a heavy heart because Sue Ellyn died earlier this week in a house fire at her home in Grand Forks. My thoughts and prayers go out to her three sons, Kurt, Kelly and Kenny.

I hadn’t seen Sue Ellyn in awhile, but whenever I’ve tried my hand at the Cajun/Creole dish that’s become synonymous with New Orleans, my thoughts would go back to those days in the 1980s and 1990s when we would have a potluck at the Herald. Sue Ellyn, a fiery Irish gal, always brought her jambalaya, and it always was a hit.

While I regret never getting her jambalaya recipe, here’s another that looks pretty tasty.

Jambalaya
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ pound chopped andouille sausage
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 3 boneless, skinless thighs (about 1 pound total), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon homemade or purchased Creole seasoning (see note)
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
½ green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1½ cups long-grain rice
1 4-ounce can tomato sauce
2½ cups homemade chicken stock or reduced-sodium broth
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat the oil and butter over high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and sprinkle the Creole seasoning over all. Continue cooking over high heat until the chicken just begins to color, about 3 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the skillet and cook until they start to color, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the rice and stir to coat. Stir in the tomato sauce and stock and bring to a boil.
Return the chicken and sausage to the skillet and stir to combine. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, stirring once, until the rice is almost tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let the jambalaya cool slightly and adjust seasoning to taste before serving.
Yield: Serves 6.
Note: To make Creole seasoning, combine 4 teaspoons cayenne, 1 tablespoon each coarse salt and white pepper, 2¼ teaspoons each dried thyme and freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon dried sage and ¼ teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 400 calories, 30 percent of calories from fat, 13.2 grams fat (4.3 grams saturated, 5.7 grams monounsaturated), 48.3 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams protein, 46.9 grams carbohydrates, 2.3 grams fiber, 769.7 milligrams sodium.

Sliding Along

We officially broke into the 2011 grilling season last night with buffalo/venison burgers and some red/sweet potatoes. And despite having a little trouble with my grill, everything turned out just fine. But the next time we do burgers on the grill, I might go the slider route.

Sliders are a smaller version of hamburgers that have enjoyed a lot of popularity recently. The nicest thing about them is that they make it easy to practice portion control. Most burgers you see advertised these days are quarter- or third-pounders. That’s an awful lot of meat to eat in one sitting. Sliders, on the other hand, usually start out with about 2½ ounces of raw meat.

Of course, you can beef up your sliders with anything from mushrooms to peppers to onions, and there are a ton of toppings you can use that aren’t loaded with of calories.

Following are a couple of recipes that I’m considering for our next grilling session. The first is for a Southwestern Slider, which is seasoned with a mix of hot New Mexico-style chili powder and ancho chili powder along with fresh minced jalapeno pepper. And the toppings include cheese, avocado and cilantro.

The second recipe is from WeightWatchers. Those sliders are seasoned with garlic and chili powder as well as paprika, and the buns are reduced-fat crescent rolls.

Southwest Sliders
1 large avocado
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound ground beef chuck or round
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
1 small onion, peeled, chopped
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon hot New Mexican style chili powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¾ cup low-fat Mexican-style shredded cheese
1 tablespoon canola oil
Small butter lettuce leaves
8 whole wheat slider buns, toasted
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Condiments of choice (optional)
Cut the avocado in half horizontally and remove the pit. Cut each half into thin slices lengthwise. Cut those slices in half again so they will fit nicely on the slider. Set aside. Sprinkle the slices with a little salt and pepper if desired.
In a large bowl, mix together the beef, minced jalapeno, onion, chili powders, salt, pepper and cheese. Evenly divide mixture and shape into 8 patties about 2½-inches in diameter. Make a slight indentation in the center of each. In a grill pan or nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. (You can grill these, too.) Working in batches, add the sliders to the pan and cook about 4 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from the pan and repeat with remaining sliders.
Place some lettuce on the bottom half of the bun. Top with the slider. Arrange a few avocado slices on the slider and sprinkle with cilantro. Top with the top half of bun and serve.
Note: You can use any variety and amount of chili powder and adjust to taste in this recipe.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 309 calories, 43 percent of calories from fat, 19 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 22 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 403 milligrams sodium, 46 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams fiber .

WeightWatchers Mini Sliders
4 ounces reduced-fat crescent roll dough, 4 rolls
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound uncooked lean ground beef (with 7 percent  fat)
Cooking spray
6 tablespoons ketchup
1/8 teaspoon chili powder, chipotle-variety
¼ cup) sour or sweet pickles, round slices
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unroll dough and form into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a thin sheet. Cut 10 2½-inch circles of dough, collecting scraps and rolling out dough again as needed. Place circles on a nonstick baking sheet and sprinkle with salt; bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack. Slice each roll in half to make 10 tops and 10 bottoms.
Meanwhile, prepare sliders. In a medium mixing bowl, combine salt, paprika and garlic powder. Add beef and gently knead; divide into 10 portions. Flatten each portion into a 2½-inch patty, about ½-inch thick.
Coat a large stovetop grill pan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Arrange burgers on pan making sure not to crowd them. Cook until well-browned on bottom, about 6 to 8 minutes. Flip and cook until meat is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
To serve, in a small bowl, stir together ketchup and chile powder. Sandwich each burger between a roll, spread with 1½ teaspoons ketchup and topped with pickles.
Yield: 1 slider per serving.
Notes:Serve with lettuce, red onion slices and tomato slices (optional). Swap chili sauce for the ketchup if desired. You can make these on an outdoor grill but you might need to adjust the cooking time.

Thrilling Grilling

Anyone who enjoys grilling is probably thrilled when they see a newspaper ad that features a big sale on meat. My mouth starts to water when I come across one, especially if I’m looking at it just after completing a workout at the gym.

That was the case today when I picked up the Herald. A full-page Hugo’s ad announced that the supermarket is holding a three-day “mega meat” sale from today (April 27) through Friday.

Among the cuts of beef on sale are petite sirloin steak, top round roast, New York strip steak and bottom round steak. There also is lean ground beef. And it doesn’t end with beef. Different cuts of pork and chicken breasts also are on sale.

Coupled with an email from McCormick about grilling — complete with a lot of tasty recipes — it’s made me seriously consider barbecuing tonight, especially since the weather is so nice. And one recipe that caught my eye was the following, which burger aficionados also will appreciate.

Brewpub Burgers with Caramelized Chipotle Onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
1 package McCormick Grill Mates Backyard Brew Marinade, divided
¼ teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Chipotle Chile Pepper
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons beer, divided
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1½ pounds ground beef
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 hamburger rolls
Lettuce, tomato and condiments (optional)
Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions, 1 teaspoon of the Marinade Mix and chipotle chili pepper; cook and stir 7 to 8 minutes or until onions are golden brown. Add 2 tablespoons of the beer and sugar; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until beer has evaporated. Set aside.
Mix remaining Marinade Mix, remaining 1/3 cup beer and Worcestershire sauce in large bowl until well-blended. Add ground beef; mix lightly. Shape into 6 patties.
Grill over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes per side or until burgers are cooked through (internal temperature of 160 degrees). Add cheese slices to burgers 1 minute before cooking is completed. Toast rolls on the grill, open-side down, about 30 seconds or until golden. Serve burgers on toasted rolls with caramelized onions. Garnish with desired toppings and condiments.
Note: Caramelize onions with brown sugar and chipotle chili pepper for a smoky finish.|
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 432 calories, 21 grams fat, 31 grams carbohydrates, 88 milligrams cholesterol, 739 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber, 28 grams protein.

Roasted Lamb with Garlic Bread Crumbs

It’s been a long time since I made a dish with lamb. The curried lamb chops that I fixed back in the late 1980s were pretty tasty, if my memory serves me correctly. The subject came up the other day when I was talking with some friends about Easter traditions.

My most recent experience with lamb came a couple of months ago, when we were invited to eat over at some friends’ house. The dish was Greek, I believe, and it was quite good.

It’s not that I don’t like lamb. I do. But Therese isn’t really a big fan, so I haven’t had the inclination to make anything with lamb in it.

That might change. I came across the following recipe recently and it looked like something worth trying. Especially appealing is the mustard and garlic bread crumbs, used as a topping for the lamb loin chops. A suggested side dish is fresh mint and tomatoes added to microwaveable brown rice.

Roasted Lamb with Garlic Bread Crumbs
Olive oil spray
1 pound loin lamb chops, all fat removed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Line a baking tray with foil and coat with olive oil spray and place under broiler, about 6-inches from the heat. Remove all visible fat from lamb.
Mix garlic and salt and pepper to taste with bread crumbs. Remove tray from broiler and place chops on tray. Broil 5 minutes. Remove tray from boiler and turn chops over. Broil 2 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees for medium rare. Remove tray from boiler and spread mustard over chops. Spoon breadcrumbs over mustard. Spray bread crumb topping with olive oil spray. Return to the broiler for 30 to 40 seconds. Watch to make sure breadcrumbs don’t burn.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 389 calories, 51 percent of calories from fat, 22 grams fat (9.5 grams saturated, 9.2 grams monounsaturated), 95 milligrams cholesterol, 30.7 grams protein, 15.1 grams carbohydrates, 1.4 grams fiber, 405 milligrams sodium.
Minted Rice
1 package microwaveable brown rice (1½ cups needed)
1 cup fresh tomato cubes (or canned, diced tomatoes)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make rice according to package instructions. Measure 1½ cups rice and reserve remaining rice for another meal. Add tomatoes, fresh mint and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 196 calories, 13 percent of calories from fat, 2.7 grams fat (0.4 grams saturated, 0.8 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.5 grams protein, 32.8 grams carbohydrates, 2.6 grams fiber, 16 milligrams sodium.

Hungarian Goulash

I was reading a travel featured story about Hungary from McClatchy Tribune News Service writer Mary Ann Anderson the other day, and when she started talking about food — goulash in particular —  my interest was piqued. I wrote about goulash a few years ago when a co-worker, Brad Schlossman, shared his grandmother’s goulash recipe. The recipe was very tasty.

In the travel story, the writer talked about Gundel’s, Budapest’s most famous restaurant for fine dining. The restaurant opened in 1894 and is named for Chef Karoly Gundel, who took it over in 1910. The dish Gundel became most known for was his goulash. Goulash for those of you who aren’t familiar, can be made of any kind of meat: beef, chicken, lamb. And it generally has an enormous amount of onion in it.

After doing a little research, I found this goulash recipe, which is a takeoff on one in “Gundel’s Hungarian Cookbook,” published in 1992. The cookbook apparently has eight different goulash recipe, so I’m not sure which one was used for the basis of the following.

Regardless, it’s one I want to try, especially if it’s as good as Brad’s grandmother’s.

Hungarian Goulash
2.2 pounds beef, cubed into approximately ¾-inch pieces
3 ounces lard
1 large onion, chopped
4 teaspoons paprika
Salt, caraway seeds and chopped garlic to taste
2.2 pounds potatoes, cubed into 3/8-inch pieces
1 green pepper, chopped
2 ounces fresh tomatoes, chopped
Cold water
A few handfuls of small soup pasta pieces
Fry the chopped onion in the melted lard until golden brown. Lower heat and add the
paprika, stir rapidly, then add the meat, with salt to season. Keep stirring. When the meat
has browned and the liquid has evaporated, add caraway seeds, garlic and a small amount
of cold water. Cover and braise slowly, stirring occasionally and adding more water if
necessary (NB braise, don’t boil). Just before the meat is completely tender, add the
potatoes, green peppers and tomatoes. Add the pasta before serving according to the
length of time it needs to cook (should be quick) and adjust quantity by adding water or
stock.

Pork and Black Bean Stew

I’m like most people. The stew I’m most familiar with is made with beef. Or in my case, venison or elk. But there are some people who swear by pork stew.

I thought about checking on some pork stew recipes after a friend of mine, Jon Dorner, gave me hunk of smoked tenderloin the other day. I’ve already taken off a few slices from the tenderloin and have not been disappointed. Jon, along with several others including Pat Healey and Clark Cvancara, is quite well-known in UND tailgating circles for their outstanding ribs, so I knew the pork would be pretty good.

I was looking for a recipe that was a little different and what looked most interesting was a Southwestern-style “stew” that relies on pork loin or tenderloin. The author of the recipe recommended serving the stew with rice and homemade guacamole, so I’ve also included those.

And the nice thing about the whole thing is that dinner can be on the table in less than an hour.

Pork and Black Bean Stew
1 pound boneless pork loin, loin chops or tenderloin, cut in ½-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon each dried oregano and salt
Red pepper flakes or ground red pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15-ounce can black beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
RICE:
1½ cups long-grain rice
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
GUACAMOLE:
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled
½ onion, grated, optional
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, hot pepper sauce
Tortilla chips
Toss pork cubes, onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper flakes to taste in medium bowl. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add pork mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, to brown meat, about 6 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Cover; heat to boil. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and cover.
Meanwhile, cook rice in water with bay leaf and salt according to package directions. For guacamole, mash avocados with onion, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper sauce to taste. Serve pork over rice, accompanied by guacamole and chips.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (with guacamole, without chips):730 calories, 31 percent calories from fat, 25 grams fat (4.7 grams saturated), 65 milligrams cholesterol, 1,500 milligrams sodium, 89 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein, 14 grams fiber.

The Perfect Steak

Cooking the perfect steak at home is all about the marinade. That’s according to Chef Jack Sinanaj of Empire Steak House in New York City. The five-star restaurant chef offers the following tips to create the perfect steak in your own home.

* Know your meat: Marinades should be reserved for low fat cuts or tougher meat such as — sirloin, flat iron, skirt steak, hanger steak and flank steak. Expensive meat cuts like filet mignon, rib-eye, T-bone should not be marinated as they are already packed with juice and flavor.

* It’all about the cut: Start by cutting the meat into thin slices. This allows the marinade to soak the meat evenly. If the slice is too thick, the outside of the meat will become too sour and offset the taste.

* Proper storage: While marinating, place the meat in a sealed container like a zip-type bag or plastic container with a sealed lid.

* Choose your marinade: A basic marinade consists of oil, sweeteners or spices and an ingredient that helps tenderize the meat. Acidic tenderizers include vinegar, wine or lemon juice. Fruit-based tenderizers are papaya, pineapple, ginger and kiwi. Additionally, dairy products like buttermilk and Greek yogurt has an astonishing tenderizing effect due to the lactic properties. Whatever you decide to use, remember to not go overboard as it can make the steak too soft.

* Don’t fork it: Never fork your meat while marinating or cooking as it makes the juices fall out. Instead gently massage the marinade into the meat.

* Last steps: Place the sealed container in the fridge and marinade for at least two hours and up to 24 hours before cooking.

Marinated Flank Steak

1 flank steak, about 1½ pounds
¼ cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons each: soy sauce, minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each: brown sugar, orange zest, ground allspice
½ teaspoon each: hot pepper sauce, kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons butter
Place steak, pineapple juice, soy sauce, cilantro, sesame oil, garlic, brown sugar, orange zest, allspice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper to taste in plastic food storage bag; seal. Shake to blend; marinate 30 minutes.
Place steak on broiler pan; reserve marinade. Broil on high, 4 inches from broiler, 5 minutes on one side; turn. Broil 3 minutes on second side for medium-rare. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, heat reserved marinade and wine in medium saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces in half, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; sir in butter until melted. Serve sauce over steak.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 245 calories, 57 percent of calories from fat, 15 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 65 milligrams cholesterol, 3.1 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein, 610 milligrams sodium, 0.3 grams fiber.

Burger Heaven

Every once in a while, I listen to Jarrod Thomas, who hosts a talk show on KNOX Radio in Grand Forks and also is operations manager for Leighton Broadcasting. We don’t always share the same opinion, but when he said loves his job, I had to agree with him.

Jarrod made that comment earlier today when we joined by about 15 to 20 other “celebrity” judges in UND football’s 1st Annual Spring Cook-Off held in the Alerus Center parking lot. The cook-off, which featured ribs and burgers, was held in conjunction with UND’s annual spring football game. Among the other judges were my co-workers Ryan Bakken and Wayne Nelson, Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown, UND football coach Chris Mussman, WDAZ’s Terry Dullum, a handful of former UND gridders, including Weston Dressler, Dale Lian and Chris Kuper, and UND athletic director Brian Faison.

I was chosen, along with Jarrod and eight others, to judge the burgers. (There also was a People’s Choice competition, with another dozen area food vendors and restaurants providing food samples for fans.) And I have to say, there were some pretty good burgers entered. Of the seven that I tried, at least three of them were heavenly.

It’s no small feat to make a good burger. Anyone can form burgers into patties and slap them on the grill, but there are but a few who can make them a delicacy. And that’s exactly what most of the creations we sampled were.

While I don’t yet have the results of the competition, here’s a burger recipe that would not have been out of place at the cook-off. It comes from “‘The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches” (Quirk Books, Philadelphia, $18.95) by Susan Russo.

The Jucy Lucy Cheeseburger
2 pounds ground chuck, preferably 85 percent lean
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 slices cheese, such as American or Cheddar, cut into quarters
6 hamburger buns
Garnishes, such as lettuce, tomato, pickle slices and fried onions
Preheat grill to medium. Season meat with salt and pepper. Divide into 12 equal patties.
Neatly stack 4 quarter slices of cheese in the center of each patty and top with a second patty. Using your fingertips, seal patties together. The patty will have a small bump in the middle from the cheese.
Place patties on grill, with the cheese-bump sides up. Cook 6 to 7 minutes, flip and piece sides with a knife to let steam from the cheese escape. Cook another 6 to 7 minutes
Remove burgers from grill. Serve on buns with choice of garnishes. Let burgers cool slightly before eating.

Chipotle-Braised Short Ribs

When it comes to ribs, it’s hard to beat pork. But you won’t get any complaints from me about beef ribs. In fact, my first taste of ribs may have been beef. Maybe that’s why whenever I come across a recipe for beef short ribs, my interest is piqued.

Recently, I received an email from the Iowa Beef Industry Council informing me that May is Beef Month. Along with that information was a link to the council’s website, where I came across several tasty-looking recipes, including the following for Chipotle-Braised Short Ribs.

Since I’m also a fan of hot peppers, the recipe definitely appealed to me because the ribs are cooked to fork-tenderness in a pot with poblanos and chipotles.

This might be a recipe to tuck away for Cinco de Mayo!

Chipotle-Braised Short Ribs

3 pounds beef short ribs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup diced white onion
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
5 medium poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
White onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges (optional)
Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown beef short ribs evenly. Remove from stockpot; season with salt and black pepper.
Add 1 cup onion to stockpot; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add tomatoes, chipotle peppers and poblano peppers to stockpot. Return beef to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1½ to 2½ hours or until beef is fork-tender.
Remove beef; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid.
Spoon cooking liquid over beef. Sprinkle with chopped onion and cilantro, as desired. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice, if desired.
Cook’s tip: To roast poblano peppers, arrange seeded pepper halves, skin side up, on large sheet of aluminum foil. Place on broiler rack so surface of peppers is 3 to 4 inches from heat. Broil 12 to 15 minutes or until skin is blackened. Fold aluminum foil over peppers to enclose. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove and discard blackened skins from peppers.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 519 calories, 27 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 119 milligrams cholesterol, 697 milligrams sodium, 24 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 44 grams protein.