Oven-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Some foods are just made to go together. For instance, there’s orange juice and oatmeal. And how about olive oil and tomatoes? And there is a reason, according to epidemiologist David R. Jacobs, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota. He calls it food synergy.

“The complexity of food combinations is fascinating because it’s tested in a way we can’t test drugs: by evolution,”  Jacobs says. And, he adds, “it’s tested in the most complex of systems: life.”

One of my favorite food combos is beef and carrots, one of the most powerful food synergies known to man. The pair make for a hearty meal (think stews and soup) while at the same time helping boost your immune function. The Vitamin A in the carrots is best absorbed when bound to a protein. Plus, the beef delivers an extra dose of zinc, which protects against weakening of the immune system.

I came across an interesting beef and carrot dish while on Facebook today. The recipe, from Betty Crocker, was being shared by a friend, Mary Gilmour Sorlie of Bemidji. Mary said she was making the recipe, with a few slight changes, and wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I’m betting that it will taste great considering the main ingredients.

Here’s the recipe, which I also hope to try soon, using some fresh carrots from my garden some elk or venison, more of my 2011 bounty.

Oven-Braised Beef Short Ribs
3½ to 4 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup beef broth
½ cup Zinfandel wine or cranberry juice
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup chili sauce
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
2 cups fresh baby carrots
1 medium onion, halved, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add short ribs; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until browned on all sides.
In ungreased 13-by-9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish, combine tomatoes, broth, wine, flour, chili sauce, thyme, marjoram, salt and garlic-pepper blend; mix well. Add browned ribs, carrots and onion; stir gently to mix. (Baking dish will be full.) Cover with foil.
Bake covered at 325 degrees for 2 hours.
Uncover baking dish, bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until ribs are tender and liquid is slightly thickened.

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